Preview NLCS Game 1: Phillies @ Dodgers

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2008 NLCS MVP Cole Hamels returns to mound in opener

For the fifth time in baseball history the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers will play for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. Dating back to the 1970's the teams have split series victories with the Phillies coming away victorious last October en route to a World Series championship.

The Dodgers will enter the series with a bit of a chip on their collective shoulders. Last fall the Dodgers were eliminated from the post season on their own field as the Phillies clinched the National League pennant in Dodger Stadium. This year the Dodgers will have home field advantage in the NLCS and will need to take advantage of that before the series heads to Philadelphia for three games. To do that the Dodgers will need to get the most out of their starting pitching.

In game one Joe Torre's Dodgers will go with 21 year old Clayton Kershaw. During the regular season Kershaw went just 8-8 but his 2.79 ERA and 185 strike outs are nothing to sneeze at. Against the Phillies in his career Kershaw is just 0-3 in four starts with a 6.34 ERA. In his NLDS start against the St.Louis Cardinals Kershaw picked up a no-decision as the Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win game two. Kershaw pitched 6.2 innings in that game and allowed two runs on nine hits. He struck out four and walked just one.

Taking the mound for the Phillies will be last year's NLCS MVP, Cole Hamels. After leaving the team to be with his wife and newborn son rather than make the trip to Colorado Hamels appears to be ready to take center stage back on the mound in Los Angeles. Against the Dodgers this season Hamels has pitched 16 innings, allowed just two runs (one earned) on 12 hits and struck out 14 batters. He went 1-0 with his lone decision coming in a complete game gem back in June. In his first start against the Dodgers Hamels was without any run support in a game that went to extra innings after Hamels did everything he could to win the low scoring game.

First pitch: 8:07 pm

Pitching probables
Cole Hamels (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 2.70 ERA)

Series tied 0-0
Game # (location) - Date, time or result

Game 1 (Los Angeles) - October 15 8:07 pm
Game 2 (Los Angeles) - October 16 4:07 pm
Game 3 (Philadelphia) - October 18 8:07 pm
Game 4 (Philadelphia) - October 19 8:07 pm
Game 5 (Philadelphia) - October 21* 8:07 pm
Game 6 (Los Angeles) - October 23* 8:07 pm
Game 7 (Los Angeles) - October 24* 8:07 pm

* if necessary

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