Thursday, October 15, 2009

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies - an NLDS preview

Trying to do a position by position guide - I have no particular rooting interest for the Philadelphia Phillies and since I live in So. Cal, I'd like the Los Angeles Dodgers to make it to the World Series [provided the Angels get there first].

First base - Phillies

Ryan Howard is a beast and while James Loney's defense is great - he has a toothpick for a bat, compared to Howard.

Second base - Phillies

Chase Utley is probably the best second baseman in baseball - so no combination of Ronnie Belliard and/or Orlando Hudson can overcompensate for Utley's greatness.

Shortstop - Dodgers

I don't see much difference in Jimmy Rollins and Rafael Furcal - but I'm banking on Furcal to be a top-of-the-lineup pest.

Of course Rollins can heat up at any time - he does have a little more pop than Furcal does.

Third base - Dodgers

Casey Blake is what Scott Brosius was to Joe Torre's 1998 New York Yankees - a steady guy who gives you good defense and a steady bat in the lower part of the lineup.

Pedro Feliz has been doubted before - he is a good defender himself, though his 'hack-first' approach at the plate holds him back just a little bit.

Left field - even up

Manny Ramirez is a sleeping giant, however Raul Ibanez is no slouch at the plate - though neither one has glowing reputations defensively in left field.

Center field - Dodgers

Matt Kemp vs. Shane Victorino - this is where talent just overcomes hustle, heart, grit and all the positives you can attach to a player of Victorino's ilk.

Right field - even up

While there maybe no such thing as a clutch player - Andre Ethier has delivered time and time again.

I was tempted to give the edge to the Dodgers because Ethier has enjoyed a fine year - but Jayson Werth has basically been the same player for the Phillies.

Catchers - even up

Russell Martin and Carlos Ruiz pretty much do the same things on defense - but I would have never guessed the 30-year old Ruiz had an OPS 100 points higher than Martin. Saying that may not be saying much, but I was ready to give the Dodgers an edge here.

Bench - Dodgers

It is annoying for experts to acknowledge Matt Stairs as some sort of super pinch-hitting star -when he basically decomposed on the Phillies' bench all year long.

The Dodgers had their own decomposing version [it was supposed to be Jim Thome, but...] of Stairs in Mark Loretta - until he got the game-winning hit in Game 1 of the NLDS.

I'll take Loretta [who is 135 years old], Brad Ausmus [who is 135 years old], Orlando Hudson/Ronnie Belliard and Thome - over Stairs, Miguel Cairo [who is 128 years old], Greg Dobbs, Ben Francisco and Paul Bako [he still earning a paycheck as a MLB player?].

Starting pitchers - Phillies

Cole Hamels - probably the pitcher Phils fans are pinning their hopes on as far as turning in a star performance.
Cliff Lee - probably the ace of the staff at this point.
J.A. Happ - he had a solid year as a rookie.
Joe Blanton - kind of pushed to the side, but he can come up big.
Pedro Martinez - Pedro probably has a start in him.


Clayton Kershaw
- see Hamels.
Randy Wolf - can he have a solid performance?
Vicente Padilla - can he continue his FU tour?
Hiroki Kuroda - is he healthy and pitching in the NLCS?

Bullpen - Dodgers

Torre can use Hong-Chi-Kuo, Chad Billingsley, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill, Ronald Bellisario as the main guys in the pen - leading up to closer Jonathan Broxton.

The Phillies have question marks - Ryan Madson is decent but what about the other guys? Broken down Scott Eyre? Is Chan Ho Park on the NLCS roster? Phillies Closer Brad Lidge maybe coming on at the right time, but he's had an abortion of a year.

The Phillies have been there before but it remains to be seen if the pieces will fall together like it did against the Dodgers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phillies in 5! Dodgers have nothing but a steroid cheater in left - karma will get them. Go Phillies!! Beat LA! BEAT LA!