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NLCS Preview: Can the Phillies Do It Again?

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Richard Marsh
MLB 2008 - NLCS Game5 - Phillies Beat Dodgers 5-1

The Philadelphia Phillies will look to repeat their success over the Dodgers from a year ago.

When I think back to the 20 years I lived just across the Delaware River in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, I always felt like a big fish out of water trying desperately to catch my breath.

It’s not easy being a Mets fan in South Jersey when every living soul north to Trenton, east to the Jersey Shore, and south to the twin bridges into Delaware eats, breathes, and sleeps with never-ending Philadelphia sports talk.

Whether it is the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, or Sixers, these are some of the most passionate fans in the world.

I find it ironic now living in Las Vegas; when I get to games, they are usually in LA. The Dodger games start at 7:00PM, and at 8:30 they are still arriving. They start a wave by the third inning, and God forbid, if a beach ball finds its way into the crowd, the number of eyes watching the field is reduced dramatically. They are leaving by the seventh despite the score.

That’s not to say there aren’t any passionate Dodger fans. There are, and perhaps those are the fans who will attend the opening two games of the NLCS that begins today at Chavez Ravine. They also better hope that the Dodgers get out of the gate quickly, because if they do not, that place will be close to empty by the end of the seventh inning.

The Phillies are attempting to become the first National League team to repeat as World Champions since the Big Red Machine in 1975 and 1976. That Cincinnati team of Hall of Fame members began to slide in 1977 as the Dodgers and Phillies played each other twice, once that year and again in 1978, for the right to go to the World Series.

The Dodgers defeated the Phillies in the NLCS in both 1977 and 1978.

The Dodgers defeated the Phillies in the NLCS in both 1977 and 1978.

The Dodgers won both of those series, and it took 3

1 years for the Phillies to get a taste of revenge last year. They get to try it again tonight with Cole Hamels, last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP, against 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw for Joe Torre’s Dodgers.

The Dodgers are slight favorites here at the Vegas Sports Books, but after what I witnessed against the Colorado Rockies, I wouldn’t bet against the Phillies.

The Dodgers, with the best record in the National League, were actually underdogs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Many people felt with Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals would be hard to beat. However, the Dodgers swept the Cardinals like a hot knife through butter.

This will be a series decided by who can put up the most runs over six each game. Both teams can hit a ton. The Phillies own the long ball, and the Dodgers get on base with timely hitting. The Dodgers have the edge with a deeper bullpen, but I give the Phillies the nod on defense.

I see this series going quite a few games longer than last year. The Phillies won in five games last year and took five more games to wrap up the World Series. This year the task will definitely be more difficult. If they do get by the Dodgers, they will have the Yankees or Angels waiting in the wings.

My prediction: seven games for sure. I like the Phillies rotation, and they are never out of any game. Phillies four, Dodgers three.

Have fun! Key players: Dodgers—Russell Martin; Phillies—Jimmy Rollins.

Richard Marsh is the author of “The Blog” From Vegas Rich and is also a featured contributor on Bleacher Report.

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