Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phillie Pitching

Based on a season long dominance (winning 14 of 18 on the year) the Colorado Rockies would have been our ideal opponent in the upcoming NLCS. However, fate dealt the Dodgers a chance at redemption for last season's NLCS defeat as the Philadelphia Phillies are now headed west.

While the Game 1 and 2 starters for either side have yet to be announced it appears that Cliff Lee, who threw 117 pitches in Monday's victory over Colorado, will not be pitching in the first two games at Dodger Stadium. So how do the rest of the Phillie starters match up against our boys in Blue?

Cole Hamels, LHP (10-11, 4.32 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9)
Over the course of their careers Dodger hitters have not fared very well against Cole Hamels. No single player has an OPS over .878, and players like Andre Ethier (.300 OPS), Rafael Furcal (.286) and even Manny Ramirez (.583) have struggled against the lefty. It's a small sample size yes, but the numbers still ain't pretty.

Hamels performances were average at Citizens Bank Ballpark this season; however, in his two career appearances at Dodger Stadium he has limited opposing hitters to a .182/ .211/ .218 slash line, while sporting a 6:1 K/BB ratio. That's dominating stuff any way you spin it.

J.A. Happ, LHP (12-4, 2.93 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 6.5 K/9, 3.0 BB/9)

The Jeff Weaver of Philadelphia appeared in 23 games as a starter, and 12 games as a reliever in 2009. He has almost no record against current Dodgers, but does have an impressive .219/ .283/ .368 slash line away from his home turf. Additionally, he matches up well against lefties with an almost identical .216/ .285/ .368 slash line.

Pedro Martinez, RHP (5-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 1.6 BB/9)

Having resided in the American League for most of his career, Martinez doesn't have much experience against the normal Dodger starters. But what he does have is an absolute dominance over Manny Ramirez. In Manny's 30 career at-bats against Pedro he has been struck out 13 times, and been limited to a .167/ .194/ .233 slash line. Yikes. Martinez hasn't pitched in Dodger Stadium since 2006, but has posted a 5.66 road ERA over the course of this season.

Sans Martinez, the other two pitchers listed above are left handed. Factor in Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton, both whom figure to come out of the bullpen, and you're looking at a healthy dose of southpaws. So how have the Dodgers performed against left handed pitchers in 2009?

As a team they are .272/ .359/ .427 on the season, but the following players do have impressive numbers against left handed pitchers during 2009:

Matt Kemp- 1.045 OPS
Casey Blake- 1.005 OPS
Manny Ramirez- .893 OPS
Rafael Furcal- .815 OPS

No real surprises there, as those are the guys you expect to perform against any pitcher. The only notable exception is Andre Ethier and his .629 OPS, not to mention a horrible .194 batting average, against lefties on the season.

It's going to be a very interesting series for sure, and the Dodgers do have their work cut out for them, especially against Lee and Hamels, but having got through Carpenter and Wainwright (or moreover Ryan Franklin) they should be up for the challenge.