One of the beauties of baseball is the daily grind, the unending test of wills. Off days can be excruciating, as we wait for our beloved game to return. We don't want to hear about owners potentially getting divorced, we don't want to read a lazy column still clinging to a false premise. In short, we don't want to talk about baseball; we want to watch baseball.
Today, we get that chance.
Clayton Kershaw continues his ascension to the top of the heap, as he gets the Game 1 start. At 21 years, 209 days old, Kershaw is the second youngest Dodger to start a game one, trailing only Fernando Valenzuela, who was 20 years, 339 days old when he started Game 1 of the 1981 NLCS.
Cole Hamels, 2008 postseason hero for the Phillies, gets the start for the Phillies, looking to continue his dominance of the Dodgers. Including the playoffs, Hamels has made six career starts against the Dodgers, and I see a disturbing trend:
|NLCS Gm 1||Phi 3-2||7.0||6||2||2||2||8||2.57||1.129|
|NLCS Gm 5||Phi 5-1
Yikes. In each of his six starts against the Dodgers, Hamels has pitched at least seven innings, and has never given up more than two runs. The good news for the Dodgers is that: (a) they won two of those six games, and (b) they have Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw has given up three runs in only three of his 17 home starts this season, allowing a total of just 22 runs. Kershaw put up a 1.89 ERA and a 2.69 FIP at Dodger Stadium in 2009 so far. In short, Game 1 figures to be a low scoring affair.
In roster news, the only change for the Dodgers from the NLDS to the NLCS is that Hiroki Kuroda is on the roster, replacing Jon Garland. Chad Billingsley has been moved to the bullpen. For the Phillies, Eric Bruntlett and Old Friend Chan Ho Park are replacing Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick, according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. Bruntlett (a Stanford alum) presumably was added to match the Dodgers' Brad Ausmus (Dartmouth) as the smart guy who can't hit.
[Update] - Scott Elbert made the NLCS roster over Jeff Weaver
Complete NLCS Roster:
|Pitchers (11)||Infielders (8)||Outfielders (4)||Catchers (2)|
|Chad Billingsley, RHP||Casey Blake||Matt Kemp||Russell Martin|
|Clayton Kershaw, LHP||Orlando Hudson (S)||Juan Pierre (L)||Brad Ausmus|
|George Sherrill, LHP||Mark Loretta||Andre Ethier (L)|
|Hiroki Kuroda, RHP||James Loney (L)||Manny Ramirez|
|Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP||Juan Castro|
|Jonathan Broxton, RHP||Ronnie Belliard|
|Ramon Troncoso, RHP||Rafael Furcal (S)|
|Randy Wolf, LHP||Jim Thome (L)|
|Ronald Belisario, RHP|
|Scott Elbert, LHP|
|Vicente Padilla, RHP|
Enough talk. It's time for baseball.
Game Time: 5:07pm
TV: TBS (Chip "Fisted" Caray, Ron Darling, Buck Martinez)