Diamond Hoggers' 2009 NLCS Preview

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

This series is not short on the big story lines. You have the defending 2008 World Champion Phillies going up against the Dodgers who started out early this season as baseball’s finest team, unbeatable at home; then they dealt with the Manny Ramirez suspension that called for the emergence of other young players on their team.

We’ve got a rematch of the 2008 NLCS in which we picked Philadelphia to roll. And roll they did. This is going to be a different story. The Dodgers survived a much tougher division. The Phillies don’t have a ton of pitching to speak of. Oh, and remember Vicente Padilla Phillies fans? Baseball has a way of showing you a strange irony in guys you cast off. That Padilla guy (who we thought was junk) just came off an outing in which he was pumping 95 MPH gas and couldn’t be touched by the Cardinals lineup. Seven shutout innings later the Dodgers were on their way to punching their ticket to the NLCS.

We like the Phillies lineup more. But the Dodgers aren’t really dropping off all that much. We believe the bullpen edge goes to the Dodgers as well as a slight edge in starting pitching. But the real difference in this series is going to come down to simple X’s and O’s management styles and the fact that Charlie Manuel couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper sack if he truly had to in a long series. Over seven games, Joe Torre will just make better calls and adjustments. Especially after being bested in a short 5-game set last year for a trip to the World Series. Joe Torre will get his revenge. What is at stake for JT Godfather? A trip back to the World Series wearing Dodger blue to take on his old team, his old general manager, and the ownership group that he left with a sour grape taste in his mouth. As much as history repeats itself in life and in sports, this time it won’t.

A lot of people are talking about a World Series played in California. Many are talking about Nick Adenhart and Harry Kalas being catalysts to get their former teams to the World Series. But for all that talk you’re looking at the very real possibility that we’ll see the Bronx Bombers taking on the guys wearing Dodger blue in what would be a matchup of epic historical proportions.

This will be a long series in which both teams see chances to get the win. In the end, Torre will be the difference as that young roster compiled by Ned Coletti gets to their first World Series.

Prediction: Dodgers in 7 games