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Can The Dodgers Dodge The Cover Curse?

by Ed Attanasio (writer), San Frickin' Frisco, Baby!, October 08, 2008

Credit:

Say it ain't so. Sports Illustrated just dealt L.A. the kiss of death when they put Manny Ramirez on their cover this week.

I am so excited about the Dodgers being in the National League Championship Series that I can’t even tell you. I have waited 20 years for this to happen and tomorrow it is finally here. I was very hopeful of their chances against the Phillies until I went down to collect the mail this afternoon. When I saw Manny Ramirez on the cover of Sports Illustrated, I nearly lost control of my bowels.

Nothing will kill a team worse that the SI cover curse. You think the Chicago Cubs are cursed? Steve Bartman is their guardian angel and the legendary goat is a blessing compared to the Sports Illustrated cover curse. It has ruined careers, caused teams to fold like omelets and wreaked havoc on sports stars and their teams for well over 5 decades.

My only hope is that none of the Dodger players will see the SI cover. But, what are the chances of that? Joe Torre needs to hold a meeting and address the situation immediately. Why couldn’t they have put the Bosox or the Rays on their cover! This is the worst thing that could ever possibly happen.

This is an interesting article that appeared yesterday on the Sports Network:

 An old rivalry will be renewed when the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers square off on Thursday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park.

These teams have met in this round on three other occasions, but this will be their first playoff meeting since the Wheeze Kids Phils defeated the Dodgers, 3-1, to advance to the 1983 World Series.

Los Angeles, though, defeated the Phillies the first two times these teams squared off in NLCS play.

Unfortunately, the winner of the past three LCS matchups between these two has gone on to lose the World Series.

These teams split their eight meetings in the regular season, with each squad capturing a four-game sweep at home.

As an introduction to this NLCS matchup, let's take a look at the keys to winning the series for both clubs:

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

1. MANNY RAMIREZ

As has been the case since he arrived in Los Angeles, as goes Manny Ramirez, so go the Dodgers. Ramirez continued his strong play down the stretch into the NLDS, where he hit .500 in the sweep of the Cubs, belting two home runs with three RBI.

The Dodgers hope Ramirez can duplicate his numbers from last year's ALCS, when he hit .409 with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI for the Red Sox in their seven-game win over Cleveland. He is a lifetime .319 hitter in LCS play with 10 home runs and 23 RBI in 39 games.

2. DEREK LOWE

If Joe Torre has his way he is going to pitch Derek Lowe three times this series. There were few pitchers hotter down the stretch than Lowe, who won six of his last seven decisions. He carried that strong finish into his Game 1 effort against the Cubs, who managed just two runs in six innings.

The lefty- heavy Phillies lineup has traditionally battered right-handed pitching. However, despite Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell all boasting averages better than .300 against Lowe, none of them has taken him deep.

3. WHO IS GETTING RYAN HOWARD AND CHASE UTLEY OUT LATE?

Now if these two still aren't hitting this might not be much of a problem, but either way, who on the Dodgers' staff is going to face them late in a game? How about 20-year-old phenom Clayton Kershaw?

Kershaw has electric stuff and won his final three decisions of the year, but was not used in the NLDS. Torre could use Kershaw in a Game 4 start, but depending on the situation he may opt to use Lowe on short rest in that spot.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

1. CHASE UTLEY AND RYAN HOWARD NEED TO START HITTING

If the Philadelphia Phillies have one question heading into this series, it is what the heck is going on with Utley and Ryan Howard?

After going 2-for-11 in last year's sweep at the hands of the Rockies, Utley has again seen his bat go silent, managing just two hits in 15 at-bats against the Brewers. However, he had perhaps the biggest hit of Game 1, a two-run double that probably should have been caught by center fielder Mike Cameron.

The Dodgers could be the perfect team for Utley to break out against. He batted .355 with two homers against the Dodgers this year and is .339 lifetime against them for his career.

Howard, meanwhile, had another MVP campaign, basically strapping the Phils to his back in September. But, once again he is struggling here in October. Howard managed just two hits in 11 at-bats. Unlike Utley, though, he rarely got a pitch to hit and walked five times against the Brewers

Facing Lowe won't be an easy task for Howard, who is just 2-for-16 lifetime against him.

2. JIMMY ROLLINS AND SHANE VICTORINO NEED TO GET ON BASE

As much as Utley and Howard struggled in the NLDS, Rollins and Shane Victorino thrived. Rollins batted .375 with two runs scored, while Victorino hit .357 with a grand slam in Game 2.

If those two continue to get on base and Utley and Howard come around, this could be a short series.

3. BRAD LIDGE

Brad Lidge has made things interesting lately for Philadelphia. Rarely does he get a 1-2-3 inning, but he still hasn't blown a save and is a perfect 43- for-43 in save opportunities this season.

However, a lot of people still remember that mammoth home run Albert Pujols hit off of him in the 2005 NLCS. Could we have another moment like that should he have to get Ramirez out in a big spot?

Lidge has been bending an awful lot as of late, but until he breaks you can't complain.

10/08 10:53:52 ET



About the Writer

Ed Attanasio is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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7 comments on Can The Dodgers Dodge The Cover Curse?

Log In To Vote   Score: -1
By CCNY on October 09, 2008 at 07:31 pm

Imagine my dilemma... as a Met fan (and Yankee hater), I'd rather eat first base than root for Joe Torre to win anything, although I love that Yankee fans are eating their hearts out seeing him finally get out of the first round.  But I don't wanna root for the Phillies either because... well, because I'm a Met fan.  I don't see the Phils hitting enough to beat the Dodgers in this series, so I say Dodgers in 6, with the Phils winning a couple in that Little League ballpark they have.

The only thing us Met fans have to talk about during the playoffs is whether or not we should drive the Brinks truck up to Manny's door for 2009.  I loved watching him torture the Yankees, but I don't know if I would be able to root for him after he pulls one of his dog tricks, and quits on the team like he did in Beantown.  Look elsewhere, Metropolitans...

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By CCNY on October 10, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Where's the Joe Torre magic already?  Now that I actually WANT him to use it, he's got none left?!?  C'mon!!!

The whole NL has conspired to make Brett Myers look like a Hall of Famer these last few months.  When does he finally turn back into a pumpkin???

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By CCNY on October 16, 2008 at 03:01 pm

I know Met fans don't garner a lot of sympathy in any MLB town, but from the Insult to Injury Dept. last night: Ken Rosenthal's report on how the Phils dogged out Victorino for hotdogging on his grand-slam trot agst Milwaukee in the NLDS by hanging a picture on his locker with the words "J. Reyes?" on it... WTF?!?!

It's funny, because I think of Jose as a 200 hit guy, a 120 run scorer, a very good shortstop,etc... but people really seem to hate this guy, especially Yankee fans.  They're always running him down, so now I guess its the Phils' turn.

Lastly, seeing a Phillies fan flying a banner in the stands that read "Ya Gotta Believe" was the end for me... Tug McGraw, damn you for taking our slogan to the Cheesesteaks!!!

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By CCNY on October 17, 2008 at 09:37 pm

Ed, I have to disagree with you there (stars vs. run-of-the-mill players in crunch time) as almost every postseason churns out another nobody who plays miles above his real game in October.  Rick Dempsey, Brian Doyle, Dan Gladden, Al Weis... the list goes on.  For every Reggie Jackson, there's been at least 10 Chris Sabos, no?

Looking back at the Dodgers season, I still can't believe they MADE the playoffs at all!  Losing 8 to start their push?  Meanwhile, if the season ended August 31, my Mets would be champs every year!!!  How many days till life begins again?!?  119???

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By CCNY on October 18, 2008 at 04:40 pm

Believe me, Yankee fans are much worse than us Met fans.  I've had to hear it from teenagers who were born in the midst of this latest Yankee "dynasty" (not) that the Yankees have won this many pennants, that many Series, etc... they're shoving the 1921 World Series victory in my face, the 1938 Series win... how do they brag about things their team did before even their grandparents were born?!?  I say, take the measure of teams starting with the expansion era, 1960 or 1961, I think.  Okay, the Yanks have still won the most, but not by such a wide margin.

The other sucky thing about being a Yank rooter is that it's truly World Series or bust for these guys, every year.  They can't hold any special feelings for a team that didn't win it all, like almost any other fan in the game can.  I'll always have a soft spot for the 1973 Mets, the almost world-beaters, or the 2006 team, who came thisclose... the average Yankee fan can't say that, but they can repeat the mantra: "most successful team in sports history, 39 pennants, 26 World Series, blahblahblah...

But I'm not bitter, really (ha!)

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By CCNY on October 18, 2008 at 04:59 pm

I didn't hear about Tresh's death, that sucks.  I've seen him at some card shows and he seemed to be a really nice guy.  Yeah, those were some bad teams, even right through to the mid-70s.  Right now, the Yanks are in the 3rd longest WS drought of their history, 8 years.  Their fans are so spoiled, they should use the down times to see how all the other fans in baseball have it almost year in, year out... but they won't.

If Willie Randolph wasn't the story in NY this year, can you imagine how hard it would have been on Joe Girardi?  It should have been, too, but he got a free pass.  They should have to eat their liver about Torre taking the Dodgers through to the 2nd round, something the Bankees couldn't do for some time.  And to hear Hankenstein cry about "we don't agree with the playoff format..."  PLEASE!  He didn't quibble with it in 2000, when they only won 85 games or so, the least in the WS in years, but still beat the Mutts.  The sour grapes haven't even begun to ripen in the Bronx... hopefully, they're spurned universally in the free agent market: Sabathia goes to the Halos, Teixeira stays there too, and Manny stays in Dodgertown.

Hot Stove, ya gotta love it, no?

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By CCNY on October 19, 2008 at 04:22 pm

Sorry about the lack of bio... I'll work on it.  My popularity was at a -32 last I looked, which I think might be a new all-time low for the Broo, no?  Talking about baseball here is a welcome respite to the sniping that occurs on most of the other threads...

Queens is indeed a hotbed of strip clubs, but Scores is still in Manhattan.

PS - How great are these Red Sawx, win or lose tonight???

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