The Washington Times - October 15, 2009, 07:14PM

Hello from Chavez Ravine, where the sun has re-emerged after yesterday’s surprising Southern California rainstorm — did you know the average October rainfall in L.A. is 0.37 inches? — and the crowd is slowly filing in for Game 1 of the NLCS. First pitch (on TBS) is at 8:07 p.m., with a couple of standout young left-handers (the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels) going head-to-head.

There are no shortage of compelling storylines to this series, a rematch of the 2008 NLCS won by the Phillies in a mere five games. There is most definitely a sense around here that much has changed in the last 12 months. The Dodgers are both better and more experienced. The Phillies aren’t too shabby themselves, having added the likes of Cliff Lee, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Martinez to a roster that won the World Series last year.


Speaking of Pedro, manager Charlie Manuel just officially named the veteran right-hander as his starter for Game 2 tomorrow afternoon. Everyone had pretty much speculated this would happen after Manuel said yesterday that Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ would be available out of the bullpen and that Cliff Lee was unlikely to come back on short rest.

So now, depending on what happens tonight, the Phillies’ season could rest on the 37-year-old arm of a future Hall of Famer who went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine late-season starts but hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30.

“We feel like the other day when we were watching him in a simulated game, he was throwing the ball very good,” Manuel said. “As a matter of fact, he was throwing pretty hard, and his command was good. He’s had enough rest, and his experience and everything … he likes a moment. I liked him better in this game than I did in the third or fourth game (in Philadelphia).”

But before we get too wrapped up in Game 2, let’s not forget there’s still a Game 1 to play tonight. With that, here are the respective lineups…


SS Jimmy Rollins

CF Shane Victorino

2B Chase Utley

1B Ryan Howard

RF Jayson Werth

LF Raul Ibanez

3B Pedro Feliz

C Carlos Ruiz

P Cole Hamels


SS Rafael Furcal

RF Andre Ethier

LF Manny Ramirez

CF Matt Kemp

3B Casey Blake

1B James Loney

2B Ronnie Belliard

C Russell Martin

P Clayton Kershaw