Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Los Angeles Dodgers have coasted into the playoffs this year as the NL West representatives and top National League team based on their regular season record at 96-67. Although they may be favored this post-season, don’t count out the NL Central Division Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Veteran players on the Cards know what it’s like to play in the big games, knowing the club has advanced to the World Series twice and the NLCS five different times since 2000.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre certainly believes in his team but also looks to their upcoming NLDS opponents as a great challenge ahead. “They beat us five of seven, but we played them close,” Torre said. “I have a lot of friends over there. A manager I played for (Red Schoendienst). Tony (LaRussa) and I are friends. They’re tough pitching-wise. And since they got Holliday, he’s really made a difference in the lineup. So did Mark DeRosa. You can’t give anything away. They’ll suck it up and take advantage of it. They are well-managed, disciplined.” With all of their pieces in place, the Dodgers will look to get past the point where they left off last season in the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Series Schedule and Probable Starting PitchersGame 1 – Wednesday, October 7th, 6:37 PM – Dodger Stadium
Randy Wolf (Dodgers 11-7) vs. Chris Carpenter (Cardinals 17-4)
Game 2 – Thursday, October 8th, 3:07 PM – Dodger Stadium
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers 8-8) vs. Adam Wainwright (Cardinals 19-8)
Game 3 – Saturday, October 10th, 3:07 PM – Busch Stadium
Vincente Padilla (Dodgers 12-6) vs. Joel Pineiro (Cardinals 15-12)
Game 4 – Tuesday, October 13th, Time TBD – Busch Stadium If Necessary Starting Pitchers TBD
Game 5 – Wednesday, October 14th, Time TBD – Dodger Stadium If Necessary Starting Pitchers TBD
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
The defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies are back on top of the NL East Division with a 93-69 regular season record. Their first real October challenge will be the Colorado Rockies in the National League Division Series. Colorado is a team that has certainly been around a fair amount of post-season play themselves. In 2007 the Rockies created a memorable run that led them all the way to the World Series. Falling three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West this year, the Rockies were able to notch the Wild Card spot.
Both the Phillies and Rockies speaking from experience know the importance of starting off the right way to gain momentum. “It’s huge,” said Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. “You have to go out there and set the tone. It’s all about getting that first one.” The opening NLDS game will feature Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez and Phillies veteran Cliff Lee on the mound. Philadelphia has the advantage for 2009 heading into the series based on their 4-2 record verses the Rockies.
Series Schedule and Probable Starting PitchersGame 1 – Wednesday, October 7th, 2:37 PM – Citizens Bank Park
Cliff Lee (Phillies 14-13) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies 15-12)
Game 2 – Thursday, October 8th, 2:37 PM – Citizens Bank Park
Cole Hamels (Phillies 10-11) vs. Aaron Cook (Rockies 11-6)
Game 3 – Saturday, October 10th, 9:37 PM – Coors Field
If Necessary Starting Pitchers TBD
Game 4 – Sunday, October 11th, Time TBD – Coors Field If Necessary Starting Pitchers TBD
Game 5 – Tuesday, October 13, Time TBD – Citizens Bank Park If Necessary Starting Pitchers TBD
The NL West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers are on a mission to travel right back to the NLCS where they left last season: defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies. With new additions in place along with their solid core of offensive talent, LA is looking for their first World Series appearance since 1988. For their NLDS matchup they will either face the Phillies or the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals have already clinched the NL Central Division and Philadelphia is well on their way to earn NL East Division rights with 91 wins. Whichever team comes out on top over the other (based on record) will likely face the Colorado Rockies, who are on the verge to completely hold on to their Wild Card lead. The other will have to travel further west to Dodger Stadium for Games 1 and 2.
The Cardinals and Dodgers last squared off at the NLDS in 2004, where St. Louis beat them out in four games and continued on to appear at the World Series. The Rockies and Phillies last NLDS meeting resulted in a sweep courtesy of Colorado. Philadelphia made last year’s NLCS against LA a short one, lasting just five games. The National League will definitely provide some sensational competition however the matchups play out. Don’t miss the action!
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are certainly in great shape heading into the remaining weeks of the regular season. With the 2009 playoffs just around the corner, LA has earned the best record in the National League at 88-59. They currently are five games up in the NL West Standings over the Colorado Rockies. So far the Dodgers look like they will square off against whoever notches the NL Wild Card in the first round. The race now favors the Rockies and the San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers organization owes a lot of their success to GM Ned Colletti. After bringing in Manny Ramirez last year, Colletti hasn’t stopped making moves to make sure his club has the proper line up to contend for a World Series.
“When a team plays hard and puts itself in position to win, they deserve to see that you’re trying to get them more tools to win,” said Colletti. “When a quality person like George Sherrill or Jim Thome walks in the clubhouse, players recognize that ownership and the front office are acknowledging what you’ve done.”
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have just completed some last minute roster adjustments, adding Chicago White Sox power hitter Jim Thome along with Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Jon Garland. The White Sox in return will receive Minor League infielder Justin Fuller. Arizona has agreed to claim a player to be named, who is speculated to be Tony Abreu according to Dodgers players.
Thome will join the Dodgers with 564 total home runs, and General Manager Ned Colletti believes he can add the necessary leadership for their upcoming pennant race. “He’s a great influence in the clubhouse, one of the true good guys in the game,” Colletti said. “He’s a tremendous leader. He called me to make sure we knew first base was not an option for him, but he’d help in any way he could. For a player to get on the phone just lets you know what kind of guy he is and I appreciate that.”
Dodgers head coach Joe Torre is expected to put the ball in Garland’s hands right away. The right-hander is essentially their answer to completing a solid 5-man rotation. LA is currently in a series against Arizona, which made it much easier for Garland’s travels. “That might be the strangest part about it. Finding out in the sixth or seventh inning, packing up and showering up, walking right across, it’s a little weird,” said Garland. “For me, born and raised in L.A., the chance to come back and play for the Dodgers, be right in the thick of a pennant race, it’s exciting.”
The Dodgers have three more games against the D-Backs before hosting the San Diego Padres for the weekend starting Friday, September 4th.
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Mets David Wright, Dodgers Hiroki Kuroda, and Rangers Ian Kinsler each suffered a ball to the head last Saturday during various MLB contests, and each of the players are currently in different states of recovery. David Wright’s return to the lineup this season is doubtful, as Kuroda and Kinsler have both been released from their hospital locations. The most unusual situation involving pitcher Kuroda (who had a ball fire back at him on the mound) says he is “lucky to be alive” but feeling good.
Wright is hungry to get back on the field despite his recent shock to the head. “David wanted to take a chance to go out and play, but we decided to take it away from him and DL him based on the recommendation of our doctors who consulted with a specialist,” said Mets general manager Omar Minaya. “It’s a medical decision.” The recent hit-by-pitch occurrences have created the notion that punishments should be more severe for pitchers aiming at a hitters body. Usually a warning is issued to begin with before immediate ejection from the game if the act is conducted again.
Former Sox slugger and current Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez is facing a 50-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test. Neither the team nor the league have commented yet, and Ramirez was absent from the clubhouse during last night’s post game press conferences. The LA Times is reporting that one of their sources indicated Ramirez will blame the positive test result on a medication being taken for a personal medical issue. MLB regulations state that any player testing positive for any banned substance will receive a 50-game suspension for their first offense.
Ramirez, currently batting .348 with 6 home runs, will be out until after the all-star break.
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The 2009 Major League Baseball Season is underway! Nearly every team has been in action, and a number of rookies have already made big impacts for their clubs.
Sunday April 5th
Atlanta 4, Philadelphia 1 – Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, and rookie Jordan Schafer all homered to give the Braves the win over the World Series Champs.
Monday April 6th
Tampa Bay/Boston and Kansas City/Chicago were both postponed due to inclement weather.
NY Mets 2, Cincinnati 1 – K-Rod headlined the new and improved Metsbullpen. Sean Green, JJ Putz, and Rodriguez held the Reds scoreless in the last 3 innings.
Texas 9, Cleveland 1 – A slimmed-down Kevin Millwood went 7 strong for the Rangers, giving up only one run on five hits and a walk.
Arizona 9, Colorado 8 -Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez both hit homers from each side of the plate in part of the D’Backs’ offensive assault.
Baltimore 10, NY Yankees 5 – New Yankee CC Sabathia was shelled and held without a strikeout in his NY Debut.
Florida 12, Washington 6 – Rookie Emilio Bonifacio made a splash in his debut with an inside-the-park home run.
Pittsburgh 6, St. Louis 4 – Jack Wilson hit a three-run double in the 9th to give the Bucs the late win.
LA Dodgers 4, San Diego 1 – Hiroki Kuroda pitched a gem to give the Dodgers the win over Jake Peavy.
Chicago Cubs 4, Houston 2 – Zambrano had six strong innings, and new closer Kevin Gregg hung on through a rocky 9th to notch his first save for the club.
Toronto 12, Detroit 5 – Adam Lind had a monster game; a homer and 6 RBI’s made him a fan (and Fantasy) favorite in Toronto.
Seattle 6, Minnesota 1 – Ken Griffey Jr homered in his first game back with the Mariners.
LA Angels 3, Oakland 0 – The Angels’ bullpen (Arredondo, Shields, and newcomer Brian Fuentes) held the A’s hitless after Joe Saunders left in the 7th.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers were just able to reach a deal with slugger Manny Ramirez last Wednesday after a long winter of disagreements. Manny signed to a $45 million, two-year contract with the option to void the second season of the deal and become a free agent. The agreement reportedly came at 6 a.m. at team owner Frank McCourt’s home in Malibu.
Despite Manny’s stalemate with the front office for weeks he seems very positive about the deal and the upcoming season. “We got a great meeting,” said Ramirez. “I’m happy to be here. We got some unfinished business, and that’s why I’m here.” With Manny on their side again the Dodgers will be a definite NL threat for the upcoming season.
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The Chicago Cubs were never in it. They didn’t choke, didn’t have bad luck, they just never showed up. Saturday’s 3-1 victory by the Dodgers complete the three game sweep of yet another Cubs team with high expectations. Their Championship drought now stands at 100 years as Lou Piniella’s playoff record with the Cubs drops to 0-6.
“This is six games I’ve managed now in the postseason and we have scored just 12 runs. That doesn’t get it done”, said Piniella according to ESPN.com.
For the other side, the Dodgers have a much different story. Counted out for much of the year their 2nd half resurgence, thanks in large part to Manny Ramirez, has put them in position to shock everyone in their path. Manager Joe Torre seems to have this Dodgers team focused and motivated. Torre is no stranger to postseason play with now 79 playoff wins under his belt. The first 76 of course came with the Yankees. His last three however remind you more of his first postseason go around with the Yankees in 1996. That team not yet a super star ladened lineup were more the underdog than favorite. Either way if Torre and the Dodgers have their way, Torre will be celebrating his 87th postseason victory come the end of October.
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