NLCS Preview: Phillies vs. Dodgers, Game 1, Thursday 10/14, 7:07 CT

Last year's Cubs would have loved this series.

Between the Phillies and Dodgers, five lefthanded starters (Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw and Randy Wolf) are likely to start the majority of games in the NLCS, which begins tonight in Los Angeles -- and that's not to mention the solid lefthanded relievers both teams have (George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo, and ex-Cub Scott Eyre -- who now has a blog; who knew?).

Meanwhile, the two teams involved are heavily laden with lefthanded power hitters (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, James Loney and Andre Ethier). Will anyone score runs in this series?

Seriously, as we learned this season, handedness among hitters is overrated. Both teams have good hitters -- and the Dodgers have plenty of good right-handed hitters, too -- and it really shouldn't matter what side of the plate you hit from, as long as you can hit. Both teams scored a ton of runs during the regular season: the Phillies led the league with 820 runs scored (still fewer than the 855 the Cubs scored in 2008) and the Dodgers were fourth with 780. The Dodgers had better all-around pitching, leading the league in ERA (3.41) and fewest runs allowed (611). The Phillies' overall pitching was more pedestrian; their 4.16 ERA was a distant sixth behind the Cubs' 3.84.

However, as we have learned to our bitter disappointment the last two years, it doesn't matter what you do in the regular season; the playoffs are a "what have you done for me lately" dance. One of the keys for the Phillies in their series with the Rockies is that they got 2008-level performance out of Brad Lidge, who had a horrific regular season but nailed down two games in the division series despite a bit of shaky pitching -- that had to do wonders for his confidence. The acquisition of Cliff Lee made the Phillies' rotation as good as the Dodgers', and Lee posted a 1.10 ERA in two NLDS starts. LA also has an outstanding closer in Jonathan Broxton, and the acquisition of Sherrill from Baltimore solidified their setup relief.

These teams are pretty evenly matched. The NLCS hasn't gone seven games since that yawner of a seven-gamer between the Cardinals and Mets in 2006, but I say this one goes seven, and the Dodgers go to the World Series.

Phillies at Dodgers, 7 pm CDT. TV: TBS. Announcers: Chip Caray and Ron Darling.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA and Phillies site The Good Phight.

Once again, no overflows scheduled today. If you need one, post it in the FanShot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Join Bleed Cubbie Blue

You must be a member of Bleed Cubbie Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bleed Cubbie Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker