Part III: Series Keys & Preview

In Part II, we focused on the Dodgers and Phillies head to head matchups from the 2008 season. In this edition, we'll focus on the matchups, lineups, and keys to a series win and everything in between.

The Phillies and Dodgers will open their series tonight, 8:22 at Citizen's Bank Park. Pitching will be key in the National League Champion series. The Dodgers had the best team ERA in the National League with a 3.68 ERA. The Phillies finished 4th with a 3.88 ERA.

Game 1 Matchup: Derek Lowe vs. Cole Hamels

Lowe has plenty of playoff experience. In 11 games, his postseason ERA is 3.12. In his game against the Dodgers, he pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs.

The Phillies lineup collectively hit .240 against Lowe managing just 2 runs.

Cole Hamels is coming off a gem, and with 7 days of rest, he'll go at it again. He dazzled the Brewers in 8 shutout innings of work as he fanned 9. He did not allow a baserunner to get past second base. Cole is the type of pitcher who benefits from extra rest.

In 2 games against Hamels this year, the Dodgers are hitting .192 against Hamels as a lineup managing 4 runs.

Game 2: Friday, 4:35 PM at Citizen's Bank Park

Matchup: Chad Billingsley vs. Brett Myers

Billingsley, the Dodger's ace had an ERA of 3.14 with 201 strikeouts this season.

Billingsley gave up 3 runs against the Phillies in one start against them this year. However, the Phillies batted .304 against him. Billingsley allowed 1 run in 6.2 innings against the Cubs in the NLDS.

The Phillies will have to see if the good or bad Brett Myers will show up. Myers struggled before the All Star Break. He was sent to the minor leagues to work on a few things. He came back up and dominated. His final 2 starts of the season were extremely shaky as he allowed hit after hit. Myers rebounded in his start against the Brewers. He started off shaky, but escaped a bases loaded, one out jam, giving up just one run. He didn't have his best stuff, but allowed just 2 runs in 7 innings of work. To go along with it, he had an amazing at bat.

The Dodgers are batting .259 off Myers this season in 2 games. Matt Kemp has hit a homerun off him.

Game 3: Sunday, 8:22 PM, at Dodger Stadium

Matchup: Horoki Kuroda vs. Jamie Moyer

Kuroda's ERA was 3.73 this year. Kuroda has pitching tremendous against the Phillies this year. The Phillies are hitting .095 as a team, managing 2 runs off him.

Moyer has not faced the Dodgers in 2008. The 45 year old had an ERA of 3.71 this year. He did not pitch well in his last postseason start against the Brewers. He gave up 2 runs, but lasted only 4 innings. In order for Moyer to do well, he might need some help from the umpires. Moyer is going to need to get the corners called.

Game 4: Monday, 8:22 PM at Dodger Stadium

Macthup: Blanton vs. TBA

The Dodgers could possibly go with Greg Maddux, Clayton Kershaw, or back to Derek Lowe. Maddux pitched twice against the Phillies, allowing 1 run in the first game, and getting rocked in his next game.

Kershaw has struggled against the Phillies this year in 2 games. He gave up 9 runs and batters are hitting .310 off him.

Blanton pitched his best game in a Phillies uniform in his first postseason game. He pitched 6 innings, gave up a run, and struck out 7. He did not walk a batter, and gave up just 5 hits.

In 2 games, Blanton gave up 5 runs to the Dodgers. 4 of those runs came at Dodger Stadium, the other at Citizen's Bank Park. The Dodgers hit .326 off Blanton.

Game 5*: Wednesday, 8:22 at Dodger Stadium

Game 6* will be Friday, Game 7 will be Saturday, both at Citizen's Bank Park at 8:22 PM. Game 5, 6, and 7 matchups have not been announced. Games will only be played if necessary.

The bullpens are going to be key for this series. Both teams bullpens have blown leads against each other. Brad Lidge will try to close the door for the Phillies as Jonathan Broxton or Takashi Saito will attempt to shut the door for the Dodgers.

Offense is also going to be key for this series. The Phillies tied for second in the National League with 799 runs scored. The Dodgers were 13th with 700. The Phillies also were first in the NL in homeruns with 214, while the Dodgers were 13th with 137.

A reason for the Dodger's lack of offense could be because they only had Manny Ramirez for a few months. With him, their offensive production went way up. In order for the Phillies to succed, they will have to silent the bat of Manny Ramirez.

Manny is 7/33 this year against the Phillies with just 1 homerun.

The Phillies will have to continue their offense. The slumping Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will need to pick it up. They should be able to with 3 right handed pitchers in a row.

Just hours away, the first pitch will be thrown, and the NLCS will be underway. It's going to be an exciting series!


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