Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NLCS Starting Rotation Chess Moves

For the Dodgers, the rotation has not yet been announced. We know that Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw are in, but the fact that neither has pitched in a week means that either could go for Game 1 tomorrow (the safer bet is Wolf in Game 1, which is what morning radio is confirming early today, though I can't find confirmation).

As per Jon over at Dodger Thoughts, Dodger GM Ned Colletti said today that Vicente Padilla will make the starting rotation for the NLCS. A promising simulated game from Hiroki Kuroda today, detailed by Eric Stephen over at True Blue LA, makes it likely that he will be the fourth and likely final starting pitcher, with a final decision on whether Kuroda is healthy enough to make the NLCS roster to come tomorrow.

This means that Chad Billingsley, if he makes the roster, will likely be coming out of the bullpen. If Kuroda makes the roster and takes Billingsley's starter spot, this means that NLDS Game 1 winner Jeff Weaver, or Jon Garland (who did not play in the three NLDS games) would likely be bumped off the NLCS roster.

Meanwhile, over on the Phillies' side, all we know is that Cole Hamels will start Game 1, and Cliff Lee's 117-pitch outing against the Rockies Monday will probably push him back to Game 3 for his next start:

The Phillies in Game 1 are likely to start Cole Hamels, who beat the Dodgers twice in last year's NLCS. They are expected to have Cliff Lee pitch Game 3 in Philadelphia on Sunday instead of Game 2 because he needs the time to recover after pitching Monday's clincher in Colorado.

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel still hasn't announced a Game 2 starter from a group of Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and maybe even former Dodger Pedro Martinez. But in Hamels and Lee, Manuel has a pair of aces on which to rely.

All the more reason why getting to Hamels in Game 1 is critical. Both Blanton and Happ pitched in the Phillies' NLDS Games 2 and 3, and if we can use up one or possibly both of them in Game 1, it will limit options for Games 2 and 4 like dominoes falling down in a row.

Let's go, Dodgers!


QuadSevens said...

But in Hamels and Lee, Manuel has a pair of aces on which to rely.

We've dealt with this before. Time for the Dodgers to shine and get some revenge for last year.

Kyle Baker said...

All this talk of next year being Torre's last is freaking me out. I mean, I know that's as long as his contract goes. And I know he's said before and just re-stated that that's as far as he thinks he will go. BUT STILL!! Can't Colletti kidnap his grandkid or something and convince him to extend a year or two? This guy is just too invaluable to let walk into the sunset.

rbnlaw said...

The Dodgers have gone back to a patient approach in the batter's box, and it's working (or it worked). They are also not waiting for the opposing pitcher to get up 0-2 on them before they take their cuts. See how Kemp took Carpenter deep on the first pitch. After the game, he told how the team knew Carpenter starts everyone off either in the zone of very close.
I think the same approach will be used with Hamels and Lee. Hopefully with the same result.

Kyle Baker said...

Excellent point, RB. Early part of the season, I had 3 strokes, a cardiac, and 2 aneurysms yelling about how we often got into 0-2 holes, THEN got impatient. Our hitting style has much improved (though Kemp seems to need reprogramming every 2 weeks or so on this).

rbnlaw said...

OK, DB, you have me thinking (which is always dangerous for those around me), and since we have another day's wait until Game 1, let's play, "Who Will Manage the Dodgers in 2011?"

My first guess is Mike Scioscia. He either wants to beat the Dodgers or be a Dodger. He would likely bring most of his staff, but keep Honeycutt and Mattingly.
The next choice is a guy in the same mold as either Torre or Scoscia; a former catcher who's smart, has a good rapport with players, and is very even-keeled. That person?

Wait for it.

Brad Ausmus.

You heard it here first.

Josh S. said...

2011: The Beard, Player/Manager.

Josh S. said...

Not Casey Blake...just his beard.

Kyle Baker said...

Scioscia recently extended his deal w Angels, though, so that appears less likely. Not sure if he'd be willing to say FU to the franchise that game him a chance in favor of the one who showed him the door. I would like it to be true, but need a lot of convincing.

I like the idea of someone like Ausmus, or Ausmus himself, except that he doesn't have (other than the last game of the season) any managerial experience. I'm not sure I could see a franchise as storied, successful, and on an upward trajectory as ours is take a chance on a rookie, unknown quantity manager.

Plus you also have Donnie Baseball waiting in the wings, presumably hoping for the chance to step up when Torre retires.

Kyle Baker said...

I like the idea of Casey's beard managing. His beard could just float there in the dugout, filling out lineup cards and pulling pitchers, like a character in Doonesbury.

rbnlaw said...

I see the Beard as being more like Frylock. He could come out and zap a pitcher who gives up 2 runs in the top of the 8th and surreners a lead.

I like Mattingly as a successor, and I believe he has Torre's blessing. Look for Ausmus to stay with the organization and get some managing chops in his pocket soon.

Nostradamus said...

When Joe was with the Yanks, Mattingly was a seemingly foregone conclusion as heir-to-the-throne, but that's two lifetimes ago in baseball terms. I can see him getting caught in a bit of a Kurt Rambis situation, where the expectation becomes that the manager should have "Championship experience" if the Dodgers continue on their current trajectory.

Kyle Baker said...

RB said:

"Look for Ausmus to stay with the organization and get some managing chops in his pocket soon."


JuanLove said...

Mattingly was on the Dan Patrick radio show today.

He said he thinks he's ready to manage. He was asked if he's going to succeed Torre, and he said he's not counting on anything after what happened in NY(remember, he was supposed to take over for Torre over there, but they hired Girardi instead)

just listening to him, i think he wants to manage the Dodgers when Torre does step down.
he said he's understanding the NL better(of course)and when asked if he would prefer to manage in the NL he said "the NL's more challenging for sure"