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Padilla seemed obvious choice to start Game 5

October 19, 2009 |  3:57 pm

Vicente Here were Joe Torre's options when it came to picking a starter for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series:

A) He could go with a veteran who had completely dominated the opposition in his first two playoff starts and has not lost a game since coming to the Dodgers in August.

B) He could go with a 21-year-old left-hander who looked, well, 21 during a fifth-inning implosion in Game 1 when he lost command of his pitches and gave up five runs.

The only question really is, what took the Dodgers manager so long to confirm he was going with Vicente Padilla over Clayton Kershaw, something Torre finally did through the Dodgers' PR staff a few minutes ago?

Only about an hour earlier when he met with the media, Torre still had not made his decision official. Asked whether the result of tonight's Game 4 would affect his decision, Torre said it "probably" wouldn't and that he had let both pitchers know they might start.

Padilla pitched for the Phillies from 2000-05, going 49-49, and he could get a rude reception from the notoriously nasty fans at Citizens Bank Park. But he has already pitched one gem on the road this postseason, holding St. Louis scoreless over seven innings at Busch Stadium during the Dodgers' clinching Game 3 victory in the division series.

-- Ben Bolch

Photo: Vicente Padilla. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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