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NLCS FYI

Joe Torre: Victories in Philadelphia this season were 'important'

Dodgers manager points to two wins in a three-game series in May at Citizens Bank Park as significant in helping overcome last year's horrible showing there.

October 18, 2009|Dylan Hernandez and Ben Bolch

PHILADELPHIA — The games were played so long ago that many of the players in the Dodgers clubhouse say they don't think they'll be of any significance in the coming days.

But Manager Joe Torre said the Dodgers' two victories at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park during a three-game series in May were important.

In particular, Torre singled out a 5-3 victory May 14. Closer Jonathan Broxton gave up a two-run lead in the ninth inning, but Russell Martin and Matt Kemp responded in the 10th inning with run-scoring doubles.

"I think it helps because last year we were blanked here," Torre said.

The Dodgers were swept in a four-game series in the regular season here last year. They returned in the National League Championship Series and lost Games 1 and 2.

Players are expecting the kind of hostile welcome in Game 3 tonight that they received here last year.

"They're very passionate," said Jim Thome, a former Phillie. "I think as the visitor team going in there, you have to focus on what you're trying to do and not get caught up into that. But they love their home team."

But Rafael Furcal said the experience of playing here a season ago should benefit the Dodgers.

"I think we've played well on the road," Furcal said.

"We beat St. Louis in their place and they had 40,000-50,000 of their people on their side."

No rotation shuffling

The Dodgers and Phillies are scheduled for a day off Tuesday after Game 4, but Torre said he had no plans to reshuffle his rotation, adding that he expected Clayton Kershaw to start in Game 5.

The day off would allow Game 2 starter Vicente Padilla to pitch Game 5 on a regular four-days' rest.

Kershaw, 21, faltered in the fifth inning of Game 1. He was charged with five runs and set an NLCS record by throwing three wild pitches in the inning.

"You know, he's a young man that we feel strongly about," Torre said. "Is he still learning? Sure. Is he afraid to go out there? No. And that was certainly a big part in our making the decision to pitch him in Game 1.

"I anticipate he'll be the Game 5 starter."

Weathering it

The forecast for the Philadelphia area this evening calls for a 60% chance of rain and a low of 37 degrees, quite the departure from the 93-degree temperature at Dodger Stadium in Game 2.

It is also expected to be windy, with gusts reaching 25 mph.

"I think that affects the hitter more than the pitcher," said Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee, tonight's scheduled starter. "The pitcher is up there going. You're steadily moving around and your heart rate is up.

"The position players, the guys behind me and the guys having to swing the bats are more worried about the cold than I am."

Ng talks with Padres

Dodgers Assistant General Manager Kim Ng was interviewed for the vacant general manager's post in San Diego, according to a baseball source familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

If Ng gets the job, she would be baseball's first female general manager. This is Ng's third interview for a general manager's job. She was interviewed by the Dodgers four years ago and by the Seattle Mariners last year.

Padres chief executive officer Jeff Moorad wouldn't confirm that Ng was interviewed, but said he expected to have a general manager in place by the end of next week.

Short hops

Lee did not face the Dodgers this season after being acquired by the Phillies from Cleveland in late July. But he held them to one run in 7 1/3 innings during the Indians' 6-4 victory in June 2008. "It's a team that never gives up and fights until the very end," Lee said of the Dodgers. . . . Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel announced that Joe Blanton would start Game 4. The right-hander, who had a 12-8 record and a 4.05 earned-run average during the regular season, pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief in two appearances against Colorado in the division series. . . . The Dodgers opted not to exercise Will Ohman's $2.2-million option for next season, deciding instead to pay the left-hander $200,000 to walk away. Signed in the week leading up to opening day, Ohman posted a 5.84 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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