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Dodgers not worried as Phillies play it cool

Despite the Game 1 loss, L.A. isn't about to panic. On the flip side, Philadelphia realizes there's still a long way to go to win the series.

October 10, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Dodgers are worried after losing Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, burning their ace and leaving them needing a win today just to bring the series back to Los Angeles even, they aren't showing it.

"This ballclub has come to play every day," Manager Joe Torre said of his Dodgers after they dropped a 3-2 decision Thursday night to the Philadelphia Phillies. "They have a lot of confidence in themselves."

And if the Phillies are overly confident after erasing a 2-0 deficit in the span of three batters to beat a pitcher -- Derek Lowe -- they had never beaten at home, they weren't showing that either.

"It's the first team to win four [games], not one," said shortstop Jimmy Rollins. "The approach isn't going to change. You don't get too confident because that team over there can strike fast."

No matter how you spin it, though, Thursday's loss, the Dodgers' first in postseason play, backs them into a corner since a loss this afternoon would leave them in a deep hole coming home.

And for Torre, today's game will be his first chance in weeks to see how his team bounces back from adversity.

"[Today] will be the first game we're going after somebody after we lose," said Torre, whose team had won 22 of 30 heading into the NLCS. "I think I'll get a sense if I feel anything different, but my sense is I won't.

"You face the best players and the [best] pitchers and things are going to happen."

In Game 2, the Dodgers will face Brett Myers, who was excellent in the second half of the regular season, shutting out the Dodgers for seven innings en route to a 7-4 record and 3.06 earned-run average after the All-Star break. He also won his only playoff game, holding Milwaukee to two runs and two hits in seven innings.

The Dodgers will counter with 16-game winner Chad Billingsley, who hasn't lost since that Aug. 25 matchup with Myers in Philadelphia.

"Both us and the Dodgers know that we're both hot right now," said Phillies closer Brad Lidge. "To get to be one of the final four teams, you have to be hot.

"To be honest we really feel like we need to win [today]. Just because we need to take care of home-field advantage."

Rollins agrees. If the series goes the distance, the Phillies will be on the road for three of the last five games. And with the way both teams can pitch, runs will be at a premium.

"Three runs this time of year, it's almost like seven or eight earlier in the season. That can be real big," Rollins said. "So hopefully we can keep our foot on their necks and not let them breathe."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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