As a special treat for the fans, I will post all of the Dodgers daily game notes here on my blog throughout the playoffs. Enjoy!
OCTOBER BASEBALL – The NL West Division Champion Dodgers take on the NL Central Champion Cubs in the first game of the National League Division Series.
► The Dodgers and Cardinals are the only two National League teams to reach the postseason in three of the past five seasons.
POSTSEASON FLAVOR: The Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 1 has 24 years of postseason experience entering the 2008 playoffs. Rafael Furcal (7 years), Russell Martin (1 year), Manny Ramirez (9 years), James Loney (1 year), Casey Blake (1 year), and Derek Lowe (5 years) have all reached the postseason at least once in their careers. In terms of postseason series, those starters have played in a combined 38 playoff series (Furcal - 6, Martin - 1, Ramirez - 19, Loney - 1, Blake – 2, and Lowe – 9).
WHAT ARE THE ODDS? –The Dodgers and Cubs have never met in the postseason. After 118 years and 2,024 games, the teams are tied in the all-time series 1,012-1,012. The two franchises first played each other on May 29, 1890 in Brooklyn.
BACK IN ACTION – Rafael Furcal will start tonight at shortstop despite missing 125 games this season due to back surgery. At the time of his injury in May, he led the Majors with 49 hits, ranked second with a .366 batting average, and third with a .448 on-base percentage. Furcal has reached the postseason in eight of his first nine seasons in the Majors, with last year being his first season without a playoff appearance.
MANNY LONGBALLS – Manny Ramirez has hit 24 home runs in the postseason and 14 of them have come on the road. Both of those totals are Major League records. Since joining the Dodgers on Aug. 1, Ramirez leads all of baseball with a .396 average, .489 on-base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage.
► Those hitting directly in front of Manny Ramirez in the lineup are batting a combined .383 (82-for- 214). Russell Martin, who hits ahead of him tonight, is batting .321 (9-for-28) with four walks.
JUST LIKE THE GOOD OL’ DAYS – Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will work the first and last three innings on KABC 790 during the postseason. Rick Monday and Charley Steiner will call the middle three innings on radio. On the Spanish-language side, Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrín will handle the play-by-play duties with Pepe Yñiguez and Fernando Valenzuela on KHJ/La Ranchera 930. The Dodgers are the only Major League team with two Hall of Famers on their broadcast team.
LUCKY NO. 13 – Dodger manager Joe Torre is appearing in his 13th straight postseason, one shy of the record for a manager, held by Bobby Cox (1991-2005). Torre has more postseason victories (76) than any manger in Major League history. He has finished in first place 14 times as a skipper – once with Atlanta and Los Angeles and 12 times with New York – the second-most all-time behind Cox (15).
BATTLE TESTED – The Dodgers’ 25-man postseason roster includes five players who have played in the Fall Classic – Jeff Kent, Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Juan Pierre, and Manny Ramirez. All five have earned rings – Kent with Toronto, Lowe and Ramirez with Boston, Maddux with Atlanta and Pierre with Florida.
BUILDING FROM WITHIN – Of the 25 players on the postseason roster, 10 were drafted and developed by the Dodgers – Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Blake DeWitt, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, James Loney, Russell Martin, James McDonald, Chan Ho Park and Cory Wade. Andre Ethier was drafted by Oakland but reached the Majors for the first time with Los Angeles.
WRIGLEY MEMORIES – Tonight’s starter, Derek Lowe, is the only Major League pitcher to win at least 12 games in each of the past seven seasons. Over his final 10 starts this year, he went 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA and held opponents to a .195 batting average. His best start as a Dodger came on Aug. 31, 2005 at Wrigley Field. The right-hander threw a complete game one-hitter, as he allowed a leadoff infield single to Jerry Hairston in the first inning and did not allow another hit, retiring 26 of the final 28 batters, including 14 in a row at one point.
TURNING IT AROUND – The Dodgers were a season-high 7.0 games out of first place on April 25 but came back to win the NL West, matching the largest deficit the franchise has had to overcome to win a division or NL pennant. The 1966 Dodgers were also 7.0 games out of first on May 13 and won the NL pennant that season before losing in the Fall Classic.
PACK YOUR BAGS – After tomorrow night’s flight home, the Dodgers will have traveled more than 58,000 miles from the time they reported to Vero Beach until Game 3 of the NLDS. The team will have made 37 flights, including their historic trip to Beijing, China in March where they faced the Padres in the first-ever Major League games on Chinese soil.
WHEN THEY WERE JUST CUBS – Among the former Cubs on the Dodgers’ postseason roster are third base coach Larry Bowa and coach Jeff Pentland, pitcher Greg Maddux, infielder Nomar Garciaparra, outfielder Juan Pierre, and General Manager Ned Colletti. Colletti is the 10th GM in Los Angeles Dodger history and the first to reach the postseason in two of his first three seasons.
ALL SOLD OUT – Game 3 and 4 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium are officially sold out.