A quick look at starting pitching for the NLCS

Dodger Hitters vs Phillies Pitchers

Cliff Lee faced off vs Clayton Kershaw on June 20, 2008, his only game against the Dodgers.   The Dodgers' starting lineup was Pierre (not in beast mode), Kemp, Kent, Loney, Laroche, Ethier, Berroa, Ardoin, Kershaw, so it's not too surprising that Lee went 7 1/3 giving up a walk and 6 hits.  Casey Blake was a member of the Indians at the time.  Manny is 6 for 14 with 3 2B, 2 HR and 6 walks against Lee.  O-Dog is 2 for 6 lifetime with a triple and a homer against him.  Ronnie Belliard and Casey Blake have never faced Lee.  Four current Dodgers have in their careers hit home runs off of Cliff Lee - Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Orlando Hudson, and Rafael Furcal.  Maybe start Hudson for that one.

Cole Hamels finished the year 10-11; why isn't Plaschke trashing him (Did Joe Morgan?)?  Are you telling me Plaschke actually noticed that Hamels went 16 innings in 2 starts against the Dodgers, striking out 14 and walking only 1, surrendering only 2 runs?  Those starts were May 14 (which the Dodgers won, thanks to Brad Lidge in the 9th and Chad Durbin in the 10th, who intentionally walked James Loney to get to Matt Kemp), and a complete game shutout on June 4, where he gave a hit to Pierre, Loney, Ethier, Kemp and Kershaw.  While the announcers on TBS discussed Slam Range, the Dodgers may need to keep the game within Lidge range (3 run lead) if behind.  But let's remember also that he has surrendered home runs to Belliard, Loney, Martin and Manny in his young career, and Kemp is 7 for 17 career with 2 doubles against him.  Clayton Kershaw has a .400/.400/.400 line against him in 5 AB.  It is a bit worrisome, though, that Furcal hits .071/.071/.071 in 14 PAs lifetime vs Hamels.  Joe Torre, if you read this blog, let Matt Kemp lead off against Cole Hamels.

JA Happ appeared in relief against the Dodgers, giving up a single and a walk in 2/3 and inning of work.  I don't think it's terribly necessary to elaborate here.  He's kind of new to everybody.

Pedro Martinez was once a great pitcher.  Now he's pretty good, I guess.  In the past 2 seasons, he's pitched 153 2/3 innings and given up 26 HRs (1.5 HR/9).  Orlando Hudson owns a .280/.308/.520 line against him in 26 PAs, the best of any Dodger who has faced Martinez in over 20 PAs.  Pierre is 4 for 11 lifetime with a double against him, and Pedro was one of Matt Kemp's early home run victims when he broke into the league back in 2006 (Kemp is 2 for 3 with a homer and a single against Pedro).  Thome hits .167/.314/.476 lifetime with 4 homers in 42 AB vs Pedro.  So Thome, O-Dog, Bison are your guys to start against him, and Manny should let Pierre start ahead of him (.167/.211/.222 in 38 PAs), hanging out on the bench with Belliard when O-Dog starts.

Dodgers Pitchers vs Phillies Hitters

Randy Wolf has pushed Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth far below the Mendoza line, but Pedro Feliz is a big pain in the ass.  Feliz is .294/.316/.824 in 19 PAs against Wolf with 3 homers.  Shane Victorino is 3 for 9 lifetime against Wolf, a triple shy of the cycle.  Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins ahve also homered against Wolf.  As one would expect, it's the right-handers that give him trouble.  This season, he held the Phillies to 1 run over 6 in a 9-2 win on May 13 in Philly while losing one at home after giving up 2 homers in the 7th inning, entering the 7th with a pitch count of 88 on June 7th (nice one Grady, er, Joe).

Chad Billingsley had one start, in Philadelphia.  He went 7 innings surrendering 1 run while striking out 9.  He got a no decision as the Dodgers managed little against Hamels on May 14 (see link under Hamels), the win instead vultured by Broxton.  Billingsley has surrendered long balls to Rollins, Feliz and Howard, although Phillies starters all have an .800 or higher OPS against him except for Victorino.  Rollins is the most dangerous with a .400/.471/.867 line against him, although he has kind of sucked this year with the .296 OBP.

Clayton Kershaw ran into pitch count trouble against the Phillies this season, getting to 100 pitches before the 6th inning in two starts, May 12 and June 4, taking the L in both.  The only Philly to homer against the Minotaur is Chase Utley in 72 AB, but they can do their damage with patience.   "Current Phillies" have hit .222./345/.347 vs Kershaw, as that walk rate has been problematic for the 21-year-old lefty phenom.  Howard, Rollins, Werth and Victorino have been held under control, but in addition to Utley, Feliz and Ibanez have given him trouble.

Hiroki Kuroda, if healthy, is a great option.  He pitched 6 scoreless innings against the Phillies on June 6th at Dodger Stadium.  He didn't get the win thanks to Belisario surrendering 2 runs in the 7th, but the Dodgers won in 12 after forcing another Lidge BS in the 9th, ultimately winning on an Andre Ethier walk-off against Chad Durbin.  Pedro Feliz is 2 for 4 against him and Chase Utley is 3 for 9 with 2 doubles against Kuroda.  But other than Werth's .222/.300/.333, the rest of the Phillies lineup has less than a .450 OPS against Kuroda!

Vicente Padilla has not faced the Phils this year, but Utley is 1 for 3 with a homer, Howard is 1 for 2 with a homer, and Raul Ibanez is 9 for 28 against him with 2 homers and 4 walks lifetime.  Matt Stairs has hit .308 against him career, but all singles.

Jon Garland had one decent game and one awful game against the Phillies while playing for Arizona.  The awful game was August 18, where he gave up 5 runs 11 hits and 2 walks in 5 1/3, including homers to Werth and Ruiz.  The other start was July 27 and featured 3 unearned runs.

Kuroda, Wolf, and Kershaw appear to be the best choices to face the Phillies (2 starts each), and I'd probably go with Billingsley for Game 4.  Personally, I'd also start Hudson against most of the Phillies pitchers (although I could understand Belliard against Happ or Hamels, I guess).  But I think this should be a good series.

Note: vs batter stats based on regular season and postseason play

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