Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter analyzes Game 3 of the Dodgers-Phillies series
The Los Angeles Times is pleased to have Ross Porter providing analysis of Dodgers
playoff games. Ross was a Dodgers announcer for 28 seasons (1977-2004) and is a
member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame. You can visit Ross' website at realsportsheroes.com.
Fifty years ago, the Dodgers won their first National League pennant in Los Angeles and opened the World Series at Comiskey Park in Chicago. In Game 1, the White Sox embarrassed the team from California, 11-0. It would be a miracle if any of the current players know that, but maybe Vin will not only recall that, but inform them that the 1959 Dodgers came back to win four of the next five games and captured the world title.
Once rain moved out of the Philadelphia area Sunday morning, the Dodgers were in big trouble. Hiroki Kuroda could have stayed at the hotel. After he had faced five batters to begin the game, Kuroda was four runs behind. He got one man out in the second, and was charged with two more runs that made it 6-0. Ryan Howard's two-run triple and a mammoth two-run home run by Jayson Werth highlighted the first inning for the Phillies. Werth hit 16 homers in 89 games for the Dodgers in 2004, suffered a serious wrist injury the next year, didn't play in 2006, became a free agent, and signed with Philadelphia.
Doubles by Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins fueled the home team's second at-bat. Kuroda is the same pitcher who had a 1.44 career earned-run average against Philadelphia in four previous starts, and the current Phillies had batted .120 against him. Rollins, Shane Victorino and Howard had been a combined 0 for 19 against Kuroda.
The way Cliff Lee pitched, one run would have been enough, let alone the 11 the hosts tallied. Lee is the only bona fide ace on either club's pitching staff. Some players will tell you he's the best pitcher in baseball. Teammate Cole Hamels, the NLCS and World Series MVP a year ago, said when Cliff came to the Phillies from the Indians this season he made a point to ask each pitcher for advice. He took that information and used it. Asked
what Lee has meant to his team, Manager Charlie Manuel quipped, "About 20 games worth." I was surprised Manuel did not take Lee out after six or seven innings with an eight-run cushion. Then again, maybe he remembered what he has for a bullpen.
Dodgers bats need thawing. In the last 18 innings, they have scored two runs--on an error and a bases-loaded walk.
Randy Wolf, the steadiest pitcher in the Dodgers rotation this season, will go Monday night against Joe Blanton of the Phillies in Game 4 at 5:07. Wolf led the squad in innings pitched. He spent eight years in Philadelphia, but this will be his initial postseason appearance. Right-hander Blanton was his club's second-most consistent starter since June, and Manuel thinks this very aggressive pitcher can have success against the Dodgers by changing speeds and hitting locations like Pedro Martinez did in Game 2.
Four players--Howard, Werth, Ruiz and Raul Ibanez--have combined to drive in 33 of the Phillies' 40 runs in this postseason. Howard has been on base in each of his last 20 games.
-- Ross Porter