The Phillies and Dodgers have met in the NLCS three times, tonight the teams will convene for the fourth time. The Dodgers were the winners the first two times the teams met, but the last time they met in 1983, the Phillies took the win. Now in 2008, both teams are raving for a chance to go to the World Series, and experts say the match up is very even.
The Dodgers made many pivotal changes leading up to the start of the 2008 season. They hired former Yankees manager, Joe Torre, and gave a huge contract to former Braves center fielder, Andruw Jones. Even with these major signs, the Dodgers didn’t look unbelievable in the beginning of the year. They played well and were always leading in their division, but playing the in worst division in baseball the Dodgers always knew the playoffs were in reach. But when the Dodgers traded for Manny Ramirez, the teams vision grew. Manny lead the team to the playoffs, playing surprisingly with much heart. When the Dodgers won the division and went to the playoffs many thought they weren’t going to be able to compete against the National League best Cubs. But they stunned the Chicago Cubs, sweeping them in three games. Now the Dodgers face the fighting Philadelphia Phillies and look to continue their championship hopes.
The Philadelphia Phillies have also had a remarkable ride this year. In the off season they traded for Brad Lidge filling the much needed gap at the closing position, after the team converted Brett Myers to a starter. The Phillies were proud of there playoff experience last year, but felt they needed to improve and go farther into the playoffs. The entire year they competed with the Florida Marlins and New York Mets. At times it looked like the Phillies were going to miss there chance of returning to the playoffs. But with another great trade, the Phillies acquired Joe Blanton. Once again the team looked energized and were motivated to reach their goal. The Phillies played remarkable in September for the second straight year, going 16-8 in September. The Phillies beat the Mets to the Division championship and went to the playoffs for the second straight year. This year the Phillies started playoffs completely different. Last year the Phillies didn’t win a game, this year the Phillies defeated the Brewers in four games, giving them birth into the NLCS.
Both of these teams are extremely alike. They both made big moves in the off season and during the season. They both are hungry to meet their World Series needs. Tonight for game one, the Dodgers will meet the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, when the Phillies send their ace, Cole Hamel’s to the mound. Coming off a big game, Hamel’s looks to continue his great play. Derek Lowe will be starting for the Dodgers. Although he is starting to hit a little decline, he will come prepared having much playoff experience with the Red Sox. This looks to be a very compelling series, and both teams will surely be giving their best efforts…even Manny.