Division Series Tuesday Notes

Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers
NLDS: Cardinals vs. Dodgers
Game 1 Wed Dodger Stadium   
6:37pm
Game 2 Thu Dodger Stadium likely 3:07pm
Game 3 Sat Busch Stadium 3:07pm
Game 4* Sun Busch Stadium TBD
Game 5*   
Oct 13   
Dodger Stadium TBD
*if necessary All times Pacific
All games televised on TBS

Here are a few thoughts running through my head as we head into the NLDS:

  • Clayton Kershaw allowed just 20 runs in 16 home starts this season, finishing with a 1.83 ERA and 2.60 FIP at Dodger Stadium. 
  • Over the final 54 games of the season, the final third of the year, Matt Kemp had a .293 on-base percentage.  He hit .252/.293/.466 during that span.  He did have a power surge, so I wonder if he suffered by trying to swing for the fences.  Or maybe it was just bad luck.  Kemp, who has a .361 career batting average on balls in play, only had a .272 BABIP over the last third of the season.  Kemp did stop walking, with just 12 walks in 222 plate appearances.
  • The unquestionable highlight for the Dodgers during their last series with the Cardinals was The Lima Game.  Lima's five-hit shutout over the 105-win Cardinals was the first Dodger postseason game win since the final game of the 1988 World Series, ending a 16-year drought.  That performance made the 90-minute wait to leave the Dodger Stadium parking lot much more palatable.  Who is this year's Lima?  Lima, who came into 2004 with a 6.18 ERA over his previous four seasons, was a great addition to the back end of the rotation, going 13-5 with a 4.07 ERA.  My first thought for the 2009 Lima was Jeff Weaver, who put up ERAs of 5.76 and 6.20 in the majors, and 6.17 in the minors over the last three seasons before flourishing in the swingman role with a 3.65 ERA this year.  But, Weaver isn't going to start a playoff game.  A more likely Lima clone this year is Vicente Padilla, who had a 4.90 ERA (92 ERA+) in nearly four years in Texas, before joining the Dodgers and going 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA (130 ERA+) in eight appearances. 
  • Andre Ethier ended the season with 22 home runs at home, one shy of the single-season Dodger Stadium record.  He also had six-walkoff hits, the most in one season since at least 1974.  The Dodgers have home field advantage in the National League playoffs.  This is a good thing.
  • The Dodgers limped to the finish line with a 4-6 record, but the Cardinals ended up 2-8.  If only these things mattered.

**********

Kevin Baxter has a profile of Ethier in today's Los Angeles Times.

Paul White of USA Today takes a look at the "dazzling outfield duo" of Kemp and Ethier.

Vin Scully will call all postseason Dodger games on KABC radio, splitting time with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday.  Scully will call the first three innings and from the seventh inning to the end of each game, with Steiner and Monday announcing innings four through six.

Orel of Sons of Steve Garvey gives us five postseason thoughts.

Kensai of Memories of Kevin Malone, now a member of ESPN's Sweet Spot network, breaks down the pitching of both teams heading into the NLDS.

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts breaks down the Dodger record this season by number of walks.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tells us that Chad Billingsley threw 82 pitches over five innings in his simulated game yesterday.

Troy Glaus, out most of this season, will be on the Cardinals' roster for this series, but will likely be used mainly as a pinch hitter, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss also tells us that John Smoltz and Kyle Lohse, candidates to start game four, will be available in the bullpen in game one, Smoltz for a short, late-inning role, and Lohse for a middle-inning role if needed.

Yadier Molina has a sore knee, but is expected to play in the series.  Molina threw out 41% of would-be base stealers this season.

The Dodgers will workout today at Dodger Stadium from noon to 2pm, followed by the Cardinals from 2pm to 4pm.

We will know the start time of game two of the NLDS probably by 6pm or so today.  The Yankees must choose their ALDS schedule within an hour after today's Tigers-Twins game ends.  That game starts at 2pm.  If the Yankees choose to start Wednesday (highly likely), game two of the NLDS will start at 3:07pm.  If the Yankees choose to start Thursday, game two of the NLDS will start at 6:37pm.

Postseason rosters are due tomorrow at 10am.

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