The first game of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers will start tonight at 8:22 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter for this first game of a possible seven games series will be their ace, Cole Hamels. Hamels is coming off a brillant performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on October 1 in the first game of the National League Divisional Series, where he pitched eight shut out innings against the Brewers, giving up only two hits and striking out nine batters, in the Phillies’ 3-1 win. During the regular season, Hamels went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09, while striking out a total of 196 batters in 227 and a third innings. Against the Dodgers, he would pitch two games, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits, while striking out twelve Dodgers. He will be trying to improve upon his previous outstanding performance against the Brewers, while trying to start the Phillies off on a good note in the series. The Dodgers will counter with Derek Lowe, who is coming off a good performance of his own against the Chicago Cubs on October 1 in the first game of their National League Divisional Series, where he pitched six innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six, in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win. During the regular season, Lowe went 14-11 with an ERA of 3.24, as he struck out 147 batters in 211 innings of work. He has met the Phillies only once this year, getting the victory on August 11, as he pitched six and a third innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Dodgers’ 8-6 win. Career wise, he is 4-1 with 2 saves against the Phillies with an ERA of 3.02. He will be trying to pitch the Dodgers into an early lead in the series.
The Phillies will be expecting Cole Hamels to be as dominant in this game, as he was in his start against the Brewers, trying to keep the Dodgers’ bats, especially the bat of Manny Ramirez, quiet during the ballgame. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bats will have to start out being a little patient with Derek Lowe, waiting for their chances before striking at him, while at the same time trying to make sure that he doesn’t get as comfortable in Citizens Bank Park as he has in the past, as he is sporting a 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. They will have to combine the correct balance of patient and aggressiveness against the veteran Lowe, else it is going to be a long night.