Final
  for this game

Ramirez, Dodgers eye strong start against Phillies

Oct 9, 2008 - 10:09 AM National League Championship Series Game One

LA Dodgers at Philadelphia 8:22 p.m. EDT

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Manny Ramirez carried the Los Angeles Dodgers to the playoffs and National League Championship Series. The Dodgers hope they can ride the enigmatic slugger's hot bat to the World Series.

Ramirez and Los Angeles look to get off to a strong start when they face the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the NLCS on Thursday.

The 36-year-old left fielder led the Dodgers to the NL West title by batting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 regular-season games after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31.

Ramirez continued his onslaught in the NL Division Series, going 5-for-10 with two homers, three RBI and four walks en route to a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, who posted the best record in the NL. The pair of blasts give him 26 postseason home runs - the most all-time - and his 67 RBI in the playoffs trail only former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, who registered 80 during his career.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre attributes Ramirez's postseason success to his relaxed demeanor at the plate.

"I don't think that negative thoughts ever enters Manny's mind when he goes up to hit," Torre said. "And it's evidenced by - and for me, you know, strike one, strike two, foul ball, strike three, he walks back puts his helmet down, you never hear him utter a sound, just pretty much waiting for the next time he has to do this thing."

The Phillies hope stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard find their form in time to stem the onslaught of Ramirez.

Utley followed up his dismal performance in the 2007 NLDS with another futile effort against the Milwaukee Brewers. The All-Star second baseman had two hits in 15 at-bats after going 2-for-11 against the Colorado Rockies last season.

Utley, who finished the regular season with 33 home runs but only two in his last 35 games, batted .355 (11-for-31) with a .459 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage in eight games against Los Angeles this season.

Howard had arguably the best September of any hitter in the majors, posting a .352 average with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. Philadelphia's first baseman cooled against the Brewers, going 2-for-11, dropping his batting average to .217 in seven career postseason contests.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel believes his sluggers' troubles aren't physical.

"That's the mental part, and also that's the part we have to work through," he said. "They have hot and cold nights and they have hot and cold weeks. Sometimes they have a cold month.

"But at the same time, I mean, that's the way the game goes. And I hear people say 'How come you can't fix him? How come you can't fix him?' If it was that easy, believe me we'd fix him."

One player Manuel doesn't have to worry about repairing is staff ace and Game One starter Cole Hamels.

The 24-year-old lefthander was outstanding in Game One against the Brewers, pitching eight scoreless innings while allowing two hits and striking out nine. Hamels faced the Dodgers twice in 2008, posting a 1-0 record and surrendering four runs and 10 hits in 14 frames. Overall, the teams split eight games, each sweeping four-game series at their respective homes.

Hamels believes he will have to change his approach, perhaps every batter, to keep Los Angeles' lineup off-balance.

"The reason we're in the big leagues is because we make the adjustments the quickest," he said. "We don't make it game-to-game. We make it from pitch-to-pitch.

"And I think that's what you have to realize if you want to have success at this level, you have to be able to learn something from every swing and every at-bat that these guys take, because when it comes down to the certain level that we are at right now this is when it really matters."

The Dodgers counter with veteran Derek Lowe. The righthander owns a 5-4 record with one save and 3.33 ERA in 19 postseason games - eight starts - in the playoffs.

Despite being four games away from the "Fall Classic," Lowe is approaching his start as if it were midseason.

"Just pitch the same way you did throughout the season," he said. "And I think it's how you deal with pressure. I think the only reason why you would be nervous is if you're not prepared. And I think I've always prided myself on being prepared."

The 35-year-old righthander earned the win in Game One against the Cubs, yielding two runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out six.

"(We're going to) try to do the same thing we were able to do in Chicago, get us off to a 1-0 lead," Lowe said. "It's going to be just the same challenge as we had in Chicago. We have to pitch good, and we all know that. And they are an extremely potent offense."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA DODGERS 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: LOS - DEREK LOWE, CHAN HO PARK (6TH), GREG MADDUX (7TH), HONG-CHIH
    KUO (8TH) AND RUSSELL MARTIN
    PHI - COLE HAMELS, RYAN MADSON (8TH), BRAD LIDGE (9TH)
    AND CARLOS R

    Oct 9 10:58 PM
  • 108
    roots
    Anthony Added 5 roots

    Dodgers 2, Phillies 3  Top 9, 0 OutsOct 9 10:56 PM
  • 98
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    Dodgers 2, Phillies 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 9 10:27 PM
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    Dodgers 2, Phillies 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 9 10:25 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAT BURRELL (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF DEREK LOWE.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 2, PHILADELPHIA 3
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: J WERTH (.278, 0-FOR-2)

    Dodgers 2, Phillies 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsOct 9 10:11 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CHASE UTLEY (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF DEREK LOWE SCORED SHANE VICTORINO.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 2, PHILADELPHIA 2
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: R HOWARD (.154, 0-FOR-2)

    Dodgers 2, Phillies 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsOct 9 10:07 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY BLAKE DEWITT SCORED MATT KEMP.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 2
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: D LOWE (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Dodgers 2, Phillies 0  Top 4, 0 OutsOct 9 9:26 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA DODGERS 1 1 2 0
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: LOS - DEREK LOWE
    PHI - COLE HAMELS

    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: J ROLLINS (.375, 1 HR, 1 RBI)
    S VICTORINO (.357, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
    C UTLEY (.133, 0 HR, 2

    Dodgers 1, Phillies 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsOct 9 8:34 PM
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    Dodgers vs. PhilliesOct 6 12:29 AM