Dodgers Take Show On The Road For Game 3

After splitting two games at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers and Phillies resume the NLCS tonight in the city of brotherly love tonight for Game 3.

Hiroki Kuroda makes his return from a bulging disk in his neck (try saying that three times fast -- it's hard; just ask Steve Levy), pitching against a team he has had great success against.  Kuroda has allowed four runs in four career starts against the Phillies:

Date Result IP H R ER BB K ERA WHIP
8/14/08 LA 3-1 7.0 2 1 1 0 7 1.29 0.286
8/24/08 Phi 5-2 6.0 2 1 1 2 5 1.50 0.667
NLCS Gm 3 LA 7-2 6.0 5 2 2 1 3 3.00 1.000
6/6/09   LA 3-2 6.0 2 0 0 3 5 0.00 0.833
Totals LA 3-1 25.0 11 4 4 6 20 1.44 0.680

Then again, Kuroda hasn't pitched since September 28.  The long layoff seemed to work for Pedro Martinez though.  If Kuroda is to win Game 3 of the NLCS for the second year in a row, he will rely on his great control, among other things.  Kuroda on the season walked just 1.84 batters per nine innings, 10th best in MLB for pitchers with 100 innings or more.  However, Cliff Lee was fourth on that list, walking 1.67 per nine.

Lee, acquired at the trade deadline by the Phillies, has been wonderful since joining the National League (and he was no slouch in the American League, either).  In 96 innings as a Phillie, including the playoffs, Lee has a 3.00 ERA, a 2.75 FIP, has walked 1.22 batters per nine innings, and struck out 7.88 per nine.  In six starts at Citizens Bank Park, Lee has allowed zero or one run four times.

For those worried about Chad Billingsley's future prospects, look no further than Cliff Lee.  As Canuck Dodger has pointed out, Lee was sent to the minors at age 28 in 2007, and was left off the Indians' postseason roster that year.  All he proceeded to do was win the AL Cy Young award in 2008, and had another stellar season this year.  That said, it wouldn't bother me if Lee had some trouble in the sixth inning tonight.

Andre Ethier, who is hitting .450/.522/1.000 this postseason, has an RBI in four straight postseason games.  Only Manny Ramirez, who had a run batted in every game in last year's NLCS, has had a longer streak in Dodger playoff history.  Bill Russell also had a streak of four straight playoff games with an RBI, in 1981.

From the useless trivia department, the Dodgers have lost their last four NLCS games three on the road (1981, 1983, 1985, and 1988).  Their only such win was in Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS in Philadelphia -- the Vic Davalillo / Davey Lopes game, when the Dodgers scored three in the ninth to win 6-5.

Dodger assistant general manager Kim Ng interviewed yesterday with the Padres for their vacant general manager position.

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Check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.

Game Time:  5:07pm

TV: TBS (Chip Caray, Ron Darling, Buck Martinez)

Baseball Reference Game Three Preview



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