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Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers NLCS Game Three Preview

DENVER - OCTOBER 11:  Cliff Lee #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Colorado Rockies in Game Four of the NLDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Coors Field on October 12, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Richard MarshSenior Analyst IOctober 18, 2009

In what might have been a game that could have put the Los Angeles Dodgers back against the wall, this series stands even at one game a piece. Charlie Manuel’s decision to remove Pedro Martinez after seven brilliant innings in Game Two, only to see his bullpen give away the game in the eighth inning.

The bright side is that Pedro will certainly be ready for a repeat performance in Game Six if it should go that far. As I have mentioned in earlier stories I like the way the Phillies rotation sets up for the rest of the series.

Today in Game Three, Cliff Lee who has been nothing short of unhittable takes the mound against eight game winner Hiroki Kuroda pitching in his first playoff appearance in the 2009 post season.

Kuroda beat the Phillies last post season in the only game won by the Dodgers. His opponent, Cliff Lee acquired by the Phillies at the trade deadline has been sensational this post season.

In two games so far he has given up two earned runs in 16 1/3 innings winning Game One and posting a no decision in Game Four against the Rockies. If he continues on the path he has created this post season the Dodgers are in for a long afternoon.

If the series goes a full seven games the Phillies will have Pedro Martinez to pitch Game Six and Lee to pitch Game seven if necessary.

Citizens Bank Park certainly favors the hitters and the Phillies have been terrific the last two post seasons at home. Their fans are knowledgeable and very loud and the intimidation factor can’t be measured but it is surely there.

Weather may play a role in the three games scheduled to be played in Philadelphia. Forecasts predict some rain and cold in the area. Right now Joe Blanton is scheduled to go in Game Four and Cole Hamels to go in Game Five. That may change if there is a delay.

Prediction: I’m going to stick with the fact that here at home the Phillies bats will come alive and put the defending World Champions up two games to one with an opportunity not to go back to Los Angeles for a Game Six. Phillies 6, Dodgers 2.

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