Perhaps the most interesting fact that I learned while researching this series came right at the time of writing, which is that for Game One of the NLCS, which begins in roughly seven hours, there are still tickets available. And I am not even talking about the exceedingly expensive seats going unsold. I just checked, and at this moment I could still buy seats at the cheapest price level ($51) in the upper deck behind home plate. What’s up LA?
Anyways, as far as the series goes, the Dodgers get an added boost with the return of Hiroki Kuroda, who was unavailable in the Divisional Series. He will slot into the third spot in the rotation with Clayton Kershaw getting the nod tonight and Vicente Padilla in Game Two. Randy Wolf will get the start in Game Four.
The Dodgers had a huge bullpen advantage over the Cardinals in round one and they still maintain that here against Philadelphia. In fact, their rotation is going to be stronger as well, so look for the Dodgers to hope to contain the potent Phillies offense. Contrary to others, I am less sure that the Dodgers need some solid performances from lefty specialists to do that. The lefties in the Phillies lineup have shown roughly neutral splits this season while facing a left-hander has greatly helped their right-handed hitters. I still anticipate that George Sherrill will be used against the likes of Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez though.
The Dodgers hold the edge in pitching, the Phillies in hitting, and I think their defenses are a toss up. In the end, I see LA as the better team by a couple wins per 162 games and even though we only have a maximum of seven here and anything can happen, my best estimate is that the Dodgers get revenge for 2008 and that we’ll have a New York vs LA World Series.