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2008 National League Championship Series Matchups

The Phillies and the Dodgers each ended long droughts to advance to the NLCS. The Phillies are making their first appearance in the NLCS since 1993, when they won the pennant. The Dodgers are in the NLCS for the first time since 1988, when they won the World Series. A look inside the matchups:


Phillies: Carlos Ruiz (.219, 4 HR, 34 RBI) or Chris Coste (.263, 9 HR, 36 RBI)

Dodgers: Russell Martin (.280, 13 HR, 69 RBI)

Martin, an All-Star selection in each of his two seasons as a starter, hit a big bases-loaded double in the first-round sweep of the Dodgers. For the Phillies, Ruiz will likely get the call in Game 1 because he catches Cole Hamels; Coste, who spent more than a decade in the minors before being called up at age 33 in 2006, is the better hitter (at least this season). He generally catches Game 2 pitcher Brett Myers. Neither can hold a candle to Martin.

First Base

Phillies: Ryan Howard (.251, 48 HR, 146 RBI)

Dodgers: James Loney (.289, 13 HR, 90 RBI)

Loney hit a grand slam in Game 1 against the Cubs, setting the tone for the Dodgers. He had 6 RBI in the three-game sweep and ended the season on a hot streak, with 20 RBI in the last 23 games. Not many hitters were hitter than Howard down the stretch, and he led the majors in homers and RBI in 2008. But he didn't hit well against the Dodgers all season, hitting .133 with two homers and 11 strikeouts. Still, he's the second-most-feared hitter in this series (behind Manny Ramirez).

Second Base

Phillies: Chase Utley (.293, 33 HR, 104 RBI)

Dodgers: Blake DeWitt (.264, 9 HR, 52 RBI)

Utley, a three-time All-Star, is considered the best second baseman in the game, and he scored 113 runs and drove in 104, an extraordinary combination for a middle infielder. He's as steady a performer as they come, hitting .355 against the Dodgers this season. DeWitt is a rookie who has come through reasonably well for a player who was thrust onto the big-league roster because of injuries. But he's no Utley, of course.


Phillies: Jimmy Rollins (.277, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 47 SB)

Dodgers: Rafael Furcal (.357, 5 HR, 16 RBI in 143 at-bats)

These are two of the best shortstops in the National League, although Furcal is still shaking off the rust after missing 125 games with a back injury. Joe Torre took a risk and put a rehabbing Furcal at the leadoff spot against the Cubs and he came through, hitting .333 with four runs scored, three walks and two RBI. Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, hit .375 against the Brewers and hit a homer to lead off Game 4 in Milwaukee. Give Rollins the slight edge because of health questions.

Third Base

Phillies: Pedro Feliz (.249, 14 HR, 58 RBI)

Dodgers: Casey Blake (.274, 21 HR, 81 RBI combined with Dodgers and Indians)

Both are in their first seasons with their teams. Feliz filled a big hole admirably for Philadelphia and hit .417 against the Dodgers this season. He can provide some pop at the bottom of the order. Blake came over in a July trade from Cleveland, where he excelled in several roles and was a solid addition. He's not flashy, but he's dependable.

Left Field

Phillies: Pat Burrell (.250, 33 HR, 86 RBI)

Dodgers: Manny Ramirez (.332, 37 HR, 121 RBI combined with Dodgers and Red Sox)

Ramirez was reborn in Dodger blue after a July trade, hitting .396 with 17 homers in 53 games. He went 8 for 13 with five RBI in the sweep of the Cubs. He's one of the greatest hitters in postseason history. Burrell hit two homers against the Brewers.

Center Field

Phillies: Shane Victorino (.293, 14 HR, 58 RBI, 36 SB)

Dodgers: Matt Kemp (.290, 18 HR, 76 RBI, 35 SB)

Victorino is a winning-type of player, who helps on defense, offense and running the bases. He also is good in the clutch and hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia in the division series round. Kemp is a great talent, with more power and just as much speed, but not quite as good defensively.

Right Field

Phillies: Jayson Werth (.273, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 20 SB)

Dodgers: Andre Ethier (.305, 20 HR, 77 RBI)

Ethier has been an beneficiary of having Manny Ramirez around, hitting .353 since the trade that brought him to Los Angeles. He's one of the top young hitters in the majors and hasn't made an error in 109 games in right field. Werth, a part-time player for the Dodgers in 2005 and 2006, emerged as the top choice in right field for the Phillies over veteran Geoff Jenkins and came through with a career season.

Starting Rotation

Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA), RHP Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55), LHP Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), RHP Joe Blanton (9-12, 4.69, combined between Phillies and A's)

Dodgers: RHP Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24 ERA), RHP Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14), RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73), RHP Greg Maddux (8-13, 4.22 ERA, combined between Dodgers and Padres) or LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 4.26)

All three Dodgers starters came through in the division series round, shutting down the solid Cubs lineup. Manager Joe Torre must choose between a Hall of Famer in Maddux or a hard-charging rookie in Kershaw as the No. 4 starter. Hamels was great, Myers decent, Moyer just OK and Blanton came through against the Brewers.


Phillies: RHP Brad Lidge (1.95 ERA, 41 saves), RHP Ryan Madson (3.05), LHP J.C. Romero (2.75), RHP Chad Durbin (2.87), RHP Clay Condrey (3.26), LHP Scott Eyre (4.21).

Dodgers: Jonathan Broxton (3.13, 14 saves), RHP Takashi Saito (2.49, 18 saves), LHP Joe Beimel (2.02), RHP Cory Wade (2.27), RHP Chan Ho Park (3.40)

Lidge was perfect, never blowing a save all season. The Phillies are 79-0 when leading after eight innings, and the middle relief is solid. Broxton took over as closer for the Dodgers down the stretch over the injured Saito, who has returned. The Dodgers are decent in middle relief as well, but give the Phillies the edge because of Lidge.


Phillies: Charlie Manuel (574-484 overall)

Dodgers: Joe Torre (2151-1848 overall, three World Series titles)

The division series win over Milwaukee was the laid-back Manuel's first in three opportunities as manager (2001 with Indians, 2007 with Phillies). Torre is in the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season and is pushing all the right buttons with the Dodgers. However, he had lost his last three playoff series with the Yankees before the sweep of the Cubs.


Dodgers in six.

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