Five Cuts: Dodgers are well-armed to neutralize Ryan Howard
1. Dodgers manager
Actually, Howard has no good matchups against the Dodgers pitching staff. He has faced seven of the Dodgers' pitchers for more than two at-bats. He is hitting .111 against those pitchers with 20 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. That includes a combined 2 for 17 with seven punchouts against Game 1 starter
The Dodgers would seem to have the right mix of pitchers to neutralize Howard. The Phillies will have to count on
2. If you're looking for an upset or an upstart in the baseball postseason, this is not your year. As much talk as there has been about parity and how unpredictable the five-game series can be, this year has been all about playing the chalk. The team with the better record went 4-0 in the Division Series, only the second time that has happened in 15 years of the wild-card era. The other time form held? That was just two years ago, in 2007.
Indeed, if you look at just the past three years, covering 18 series, the baseball postseason has been fairly predictable. You would have looked pretty smart by always picking the team that won more regular-season games than its opponents. The teams with the most wins are 13-3 in postseason series from 2007 through 09. (Both LCS matchups last year featured teams with identical regular-season records.)
If you're looking ahead to a Yankees-Dodgers World Series -- going with the teams in each LCS with the better record -- it would take something unprecedented in the wild-card era: teams with the better record going 6-0 in league playoff series. Then again, this already has been an unprecedented year for form holding. Four of the top five teams in wins have made it to the LCS. It's the first time that the final four teams have been among the top five in wins.
3. I'll share with you the inside scouting report that the Phillies have on Game 2 Dodgers starter
4. Are the Yankees too good for their own good? They dispatched the Twins so quickly that they might be sending Game 1 starter
Those numbers do not include postseason starts. Sabathia started Game 1 of the 2007 ALCS on seven days' rest for the Indians against Boston. He was awful, as bad as any pitcher has been in postseason history. Lasting only 4 1/3 innings, he gave up eight earned runs -- tying a postseason record -- seven hits and five walks.