Phillies-Dodgers 2009 NLCS Preview

Phillies No love is lost between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Most NELADodgers logo readers know that the Dodgers ruined my childhood so I won't spend too much time denigrating the Blue Crew.  Both teams were pugnacious in last year's playoffs but the Phillies, aided by Matt Stairs' Gibson-like homer, advanced to eventually win the World Series.

That's all ancient history.  Tomorrow night, the 2009 NLCS starts at Chavez Ravine.  Here's a breakdown of both teams and my prediction for the NLCS:

Pitching:

The Dodgers have suffered with their starting rotation while The Phils have gotten stronger.  Starters Cole Hamels and Pedro Martinez should provide an edge over Kershaw and Vicente Padilla.  Kershaw is undefeated at Dodgers Stadium but the Phillies have his number.  Padilla is red-hot but so is Pedro at this point. 

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee should be unbeatable in Game Three.  Edge:  PHILLIES

Bullpen:

The Dodgers excel out of the bullpen while the Phillies have had their trials and tribulations with Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.  Both performed well against Colorado but the ghost of 11 blown saves continues to haunt the Phils.  Brett Myers just can't pitch on the road and LA has the home field advantage. If it comes down to the late innings, Jon Broxton is about as good you can have on the hill.  EDGE: DODGERS

Offense:

Manny Ramirez is the best hitter of this generation but continues to be a head case.  Phillies slugger Ryan Howard is all business.  The Phillies have perhaps the best offensive punch in baseball unless facing a dominant pitcher.  If the Dodgers get behind early, and can't produce runs, the Phillies should be able to hold on.  EDGE:  PHILLIES

Defense:

The Phillies oufield and right side of the infield matches up better than the Dodgers.  The Dodgers edge the Phillies behind the plate and on the left side of the infield.  The Phillies bats are mostly left-handed so this could be a slight edge to the Phillies.  I'll call it a push.

Bench:

On paper, the Dodgers are much deeper than the Phillies but the bench shouldn't be a factor in this series.  If we have extra inning games, expect the Dodgers bullpen and deep bench to prevail.  EDGE: DODGERS

Grit:

Hands down, Phillies.  While the Dodgers were all business against the Cardinals, the Fightin' Phils earned their nickname in the Rockies series.  That intangible called heart is the one thing that can keep the Phillies alive if the games come down to the late innings.  As good as the Dodgers bullpen is, the defending World Champions find ways to win ball games when the title is on the line.  EDGE: PHILLIES

Environment:Phanatic_lasorda

Phillies fans are known for their no-nonsense passion but Dodgers fans of today are not the sushi-eating dilletantes of years past.  Dodgers baseball is a WAY OF LIFE to today's fans.  With no football team, Los Angelenos have nothing other to distract them from their mission to make the Phillies players as miserable as possible when in Chavez Ravine.  Considering the bean-ball war of 2008, both fans will be trying to give their team the edge.  As the Dodgers have home field advantage-  EDGE: DODGERS

In my opinion, these teams are evenly matched with unique strengths.  The secret to the Dodgers success will be to keep the Phillies early-inning run production down while building up leads to take to the late innings.  Consequently, the Phillies will have to get to the Dodgers pitching early and often.  I expect the Phils to pull one late-inning victory out of their hats on pure heart which is why I predict:

Phillies in 7

 


Watch Laker Games At La Casa Blue

Lakers face off in Finals watch it at the La Casa Blue Bar & Restaurant

Juanita's Restaurant at La Casa Blue
5930 York Blvd. 
Highland Park, 90042
bar  323-254-4200
E-mail : events@lacasablue.com
http://www.lacasablue.com 
Food & Bar Open Daily at 11:00 A.M.
Saturday & Sundays Breakfast starts at 8:00 A.M.
Full Mexican Food menu available at all times.
Gift Card available with a 10% discount built in.

Game 1 at CELTICS * bar opens at 5pm
Elsie Bridget & Julio will be your happy bartenders 
Thursday, June 5
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 2 at CELTICS
Sunday, June 8
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 3 at LAKERS * bar open at 6pm
Tuesday, June 10
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 4 at LAKERS
Thursday, June 12
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 5 at LAKERS* Elsie & Julio will open the bar 8 A.M
Sunday, June 15
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 6 at CELTICS* Elsie & Julio will open the bar 11 A.M
Tuesday, June 17
6:00pm TV: ABC

Game 7 at CELTICS* Elsie & Julio will open the bar 11 A.M.
Thursday, June 19
6:00pm TV: ABC

Never a Cover Charge at La Casa Blue
All events are all ages, except for private events.
Alcohol purchases must be at least 21 years old.
Juanita's Restaurant from Eagle Rock has moved in with La Casa Blue, Food & Bar
from their Eagle Rock location after 20 years of dishing up great Mexican Food.
--------------------------------------------------
La Casa Blue is available for Private Banquettes or Office &
Group Parties...


Everyone's a Dodger Fan Today

Today is April 15, deadline day for Americans still trying to file their income taxes (Relax...in 2007 we have until the 16th)

Baseball fans, however, know that today marks the sixtieth anniversary of the game where Jackie Robinson did the unthinkable; he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.1955

Los Angelenos should be very proud of this native son because he led a remarkable life.  University of Southern California graduate, commissioned officer in the United States Army, and then his remarkable achievements on the diamond.  Notwithstanding the historical significance of his career, Jackie Robinson was  the 1949 MVP and held a .311 lifetime batting average, truly Hall of Fame statistics. 

This picture shows Jackie stealing home in the 1955 World Series against the Dodgers.  Stealing home is an amazing feat and hardly ever attempted in the modern game.

My father, a lifelong baseball fan, described the love/hate relationship Phillies fans had with Robinson in the '50s.  "They would call him ugly names so he stole second base.  Pitchers would throw at him and Jackie would score the winning run. They hated that a black man could do something  their hometown boys could not; win baseball games for his team".  I asked him one time if the hype about Robinson was really  justified.  I queried whether his hero status was just  a function of being the first black man in the game.  My father just shook his head and lamented, "Nope.  He was really THAT good."

I asked my dad if he hated Jackie Robinson as a kid in Philly.  He said, "Of course.  He was a Dodger."

I think Jackie would have respected that sort of "hatred".

Click the link to hear the Count Basie song, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?"


The Dreaded Dodgers

Baseballballistic1 Make no mistake about it Northeast Los Angeles...I hate the Dodgers.  I was born in Philadelphia, lived in Phoenix and now live in San Diego.  As a kid in Philly, I watched the Dodgers teams of the 70's beat up on the Phillies.  We were finally redeemed in 1980.  As a young adult in Phoenix, I took perverse pleasure in the Dodgers decade-long decline.  Now, as a Friar faithful, I have grown to appreciate the Interstate 5 rivalry.

I hate the Dodgers and you probably love them in Northeast Los Angeles. 

I love Dodgers' fans, though.  You're passionate, knowledgeable, and lots of fun to run smack on.  I intend to do that all season. 

So...Dodger fan!  Can you believe it all starts in less than 30 days?

Dodgers Spring Training Schedule