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2009 Playoffs
NLCS Preview
October 15, 2009

Colorado gave Philadelphia a tough Division Series, but in the end, the Phillies won thanks to a more talented roster.  It just felt like they always had an extra button to push.  I was a little surprised that LA handled St. Louis so easily, but the Dodgers have one of those lineups that don't allow for many easy innings.

The 2009 NLCS is a rematch of last year, and many of the familiar faces remain.  This time, however, I don't think it will be as one-sided as last year.  I'll save you the suspense and tell you right now I think the series will go 7 games.  Will the Phillies defend their title or will Joe Torre get another chance at a World Series?  Read our NLCS Preview and find out!
Philadelphia vs. Los Angeles
Much like last year, I am impressed by Philadelphia's lineup in that the attack can come from many sources and in many ways.  There's really not an easy out in the group, and that makes it tough for anyone to beat this squad 4 times in 7 tries.  Up to the task is Los Angeles, though, boasting its own AL-type lineup.  The young guys aren't so wet behind the ears anymore, and a hitter like Russell Martin in the 8th slot shows the Dodgers' depth of hitters.

Each team's advantages are minor, and I think the series will be decided by the team that plays fundamentally sound baseball.  One untimely error or baserunning mistake could decide this series.

I like Philly's rotation more, but Cole Hamels has been struggling.  If he can't win Game 1 tonight, the pitching advantage disappears instantly.  LA clearly has the better bullpen, but Lidge did close out a couple games in the NLDS while the Dodgers were a little shaky in the late innings against the Cardinals.  Still, I think LA is in a good position to win a game or two late thanks to quality arms in the 'pen.

I've already talked about the lineups, and while the edge has to go to Philly, there's something about LA's situation that appeals to me this postseason.  With cold weather almost guaranteed at some point this series, I see the Dodgers being a little more likely to create some runs.  Juan Pierre's presence on the bench will only aid Los Angeles.

The overall edge goes to Philadelphia, especially with Cliff Lee's performances of late, but a hunch tells me that Kershaw will outpitch Hamels tonight, and the Phillies will be chasing the lead most of the series.  In the end, it will catch up to them in a thrilling Game 7 finish where the overlooked James Loney has a key hit or two sending Joe Torre's gang into the World Series.
Prediction: Los Angeles in 7