It's time for the wanna-bes to take a seat in front of the TV and watch the big boys battle it out on the road to the 2008 World Series.
The Phils will trot out Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09), Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55), Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), and Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20 as a Phil; 9-12, 4.69 overall) on Thursday when they open at home against LA at 8:22 PM, on Fox.
The Dodger's will answer with Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.24), with the rest of the guys "to be announced," though it shouldn't take a crystal ball to see into Joe Torre's future. He'll almost certainly use Chad Billingsley (16-10, 3.14), Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73), and Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 4.26) or Greg Maddux (8-13, 4.22).
We'd bet on LHP Kershaw to match up against the lefty Philly bats of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. GW doesn't expect a Brad Penny sighting.
The Dodgers swept a four-game series from the Phillies at Dodger Stadium. The Phillies swept a four-game series from the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.
Dodger Stadium is pitcher-friendly. Citizens Bank Park is hitter-friendly. The Dodgers led the National League in team earned run average. The Phillies led the league in home runs. Think the home field is an advantage in this matchup?
The BoSox have their rotation set for the Tampa Bay series. It's Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3, 2.90), Josh Beckett (12-10, 4.13), Jon Lester (16-6, 3.21) and Tim Wakefield (10-11, 4.13).
Some local flavor will spice up the games as Pittsburgh watches to see if Jay Bay, who had 2 long balls, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored, including the series-clincher with two out in the ninth, can keep his heroics going in his first-ever playoff campaign.
The Rays will counter with James Shields (14-8, 3.56), Scott Kazmir (12-8, 3.49), Matt Garza (11-9, 3.70) and probably Andy Sonnanstine (13-9, 4.38).
The series opens in Tampa Bay on Friday at 8:37 PM, on TBS. The story line for the ALCS is the new boys on the block, the Rays, versus the been-there, done-that BoSox. Tampa won the regular season series ten games to eight. The Red Sox went 7-2 in Fenway, the Rays 8-1 in The Trop, so home cookin' means something in this match, too.
Let the games begin! Hey, Alfonso, pass the chips. And CC, get me a beer while you're headed to the cooler. Misery so loves company, hehe.