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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / NATIONAL LEAGUE

Dodgers Vs. New York Mets

October 03, 2006|BEN BOLCH

DODGERS' PROJECTED LINEUP

* Keys to the series: A rotation that was supposed to be a strength is a question mark now, thanks to Brad Penny's lower back tightness. The Dodgers need a serviceable start in Game 2 from rookie left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, who shut out the Mets for six innings on Sept. 8. If Kuo falters or Game 3 starter Greg Maddux, who has averaged only 76 pitches in his 12 starts with the Dodgers, cannot pitch into the late innings, a heavy burden will be placed on a somewhat shaky middle relief corps. The Dodgers hope the momentum of seven consecutive wins and an offense that led the NL with a .276 batting average can carry them to an upset that would rival their surprise victory over the Mets in the 1988 NL championship series.

*--* P Player AVG HR RBI SS Rafael Furcal 300 15 63 CF Kenny Lofton 301 3 41 1B Nomar Garciaparra 303 20 93 2B Jeff Kent 292 14 68 RF J.D. Drew 283 20 100 C Russell Martin 282 10 65 LF Marlon Anderson 297 12 38 3B Wilson Betemit 263 18 53

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METS' PROJECTED LINEUP

*--* P Player AVG HR RBI SS Jose Reyes 300 19 81 C Paul Lo Duca 318 5 49 CF Carlos Beltran 275 41 116 1B Carlos Delgado 265 38 114 3B David Wright 311 26 116 LF Cliff Floyd 244 11 44 RF Shawn Green 277 15 66 2B Jose Valentin 271 18 62

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* Keys to the series: The Mets have their own rotation troubles. The loss of Pedro Martinez to a season-ending calf injury leaves New York with one starter (Orlando Hernandez) who went 11-11 during the regular season and another (Steve Trachsel) with a 4.97 earned-run average. Game 2 starter Tom Glavine has won only three decisions since late June, and the left-hander has compiled a less-than-spectacular 5.15 ERA in nine division series starts in his career, all with Atlanta. The Mets rely on a powerful lineup that includes home-run threats Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and David Wright, who combined for 105 homers and 346 RBIs. New York was one of only four National League teams to hit 200 homers.

-- BEN BOLCH

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Best-of-five division series (all times Pacific)

* WEDNESDAY -- Dodgers (Lowe 16-8) at New York (Hernandez 11-11), 1 p.m., ESPN

* THURSDAY-- Dodgers (Kuo 1-5) at New York (Glavine 15-7), 5 p.m., Ch. 11

* SATURDAY -- New York at Dodger Stadium, TBA

* SUNDAY -- New York at Dodger Stadium, if necessary

* MONDAY -- Dodgers at New York, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11, if necessary

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