Your 2008 NLCS Preview

We’ve got a couple of hardcore fanbases that have seen their franchises reach this point, to do battle for National League supremacy. Dodger fans and Phillies fans, well they live and die for their teams; like it or not.

I think the National league had a bunch of ‘ok’ ballclubs this season, but no special teams. This Dodger team wouldn’t have even made the postseason if it weren’t for Manny Ramirez, let alone won their first round. I think they’ll take it. As we predicted, Ramirez did his usual postseason thing against the Cubs, and the Dodgers are now playing for a chance to win the whole damn thing. Amazing how things happen isn’t it?

Ramirez played on a team similar in some ways to this current Dodger team, and they also went to a World Series. The 1997 Cleveland Indians. Except this Dodgers team is even less appealing. They had 1 guy hit 20 homers (Andre Ethier). They didn’t have a guy with 20 saves. They had only one starter get more than 15 wins (Chad Billingsley had 16). Now Ramirez came in and hit at a .396 clip, but still other than Manny there just isn’t a lot about this team that really stands out. They won 84 games, and came in and swept a Cubs team that couldn’t hit to save their life. It was Dodger pitching they couldn’t hit! That tells you about the Cubs and their deer in the headlights mentality in the postseason.

The Dodgers are grossly over-matched. But so were those 1997 Indians who were just 2 outs away from winning it all (thanks again, Jose Mesa). The Dodgers are here, they’ve gotten this far, and they can do this. We want to stress that.

But they are overmatched. The Phillies won 92 games and filtered out of a much tougher division that Los Angeles wouldn’t have been able to breathe in. They’ve got star power, and more than just Manny Ramirez playing for a contract. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino are all players we think the Dodgers would covet.

Now the Phillies rotation doesn’t exactly scare us, but they’re more formidable then that of the Dodgers. Cole Hamels is the best starting pitcher in this series. Brad Lidge didn’t blow a save all season long. The Philly bullpen is downright nasty. You have to give the managerial edge to the Dodgers, and by a longshot. We don’t think Charlie Manuel could beat Joe Torre in tic-tac-toe. Not even once. Torre is the biggest advantage for the Dodgers in this series and he’ll help his team compete by himself.

In the end, Philly just has too much firepower for the Dodgers. This would be a major upset if the Dodgers could move on, but we expect Philly to hit them hard and often once the series kicks off tomorrow night in Philadelphia. These fans are rabid and they’ve waited a long time to get here. They’re much more tolerable than Massholes as well.

-Player who will have the biggest series impact: Chase Utley

Prediction: Philadelphia in 6 games.