Eduardo A. Encina | Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles led the National League with a 3.68 team ERA. Dodgers Game 1 starter Derek Lowe has 19 postseason appearances, including a 3-0 record and 1.86 ERA during Boston's 2004 World Series run. Phillies ace Cole Hamels was a workhorse this season, going 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA, and Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer are a combined 15-5 with a 3.27 ERA after the All-Star break.
Edge: Dodgers,Phillies closer Brad Lidge has converted all 43 of his save opportunities this season, including 2-for-2 in this postseason. The Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton is a flamethrower who could play a bigger late-inning role.
The Phillies scored 99 more runs than the Dodgers in the regular season, but they haven't been as explosive in October. The majors' regular-season home run king, Ryan Howard, is hitting .182, and Chase Utley is batting .133. Meanwhile, the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez is hitting .500, with two homers and four walks. Russell Martin has four extra-base hits this postseason.
Edge: Dodgers,The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins and the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal are two of the top defensive shortstops in the game. Statistically, the Phillies (.985, tied for fifth in NL) and Dodgers (.984, tied for seventh) are around the same in fielding percentage.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre's resume from his days with the Yankees, which includes four World Series titles, speaks volumes. He seems to have his team believing in itself, much like the early days of the 1990s Yankees dynasty. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been around the game a long time and knows a lot about opponents as well as his own players.
Edge: Dodgers,The October breeze will be blowing out of hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, which might help awaken the Phillies' bats. But the Dodgers seem to have become the sentimental favorite with the unlikely pairing of Ramirez and Torre.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5