Kuroda loves L.A., namely Dodger Stadium

Updated: October 11, 2008

NLCS Game 3: Jamie Moyer, left, has not faced L.A. this season; Hiroki Kuroda has a 1.39 ERA vs. Philly.


The pressure is on Dodgers rookie Hiroki Kuroda as Los Angeles returns home to host Philadelphia in Game 3 of the NLCS.

Kuroda has been sharp at home throughout the 2008 season, but this will be the most important start of his major league career. Kuroda has pitched well in two previous starts against the Phillies, but you have to figure Ryan Howard is due for a breakout game. If Kuroda can hold Howard & Co. in check, the Dodgers should be able to capitalize and make this an interesting series again.
Kuroda at home (regular season)
W-L 6-2
ERA 3.68
Opp. BA .241
BB per 9 1.4
AB per HR 56.0
2008 postseason at home: 1-0, 0.00, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 SO


The pitching matchup in Game 3 of the NLCS is pretty interesting. Obviously, it's important for the Dodgers to start well -- and with Hiroki Kuroda going for them, they have a good chance.


Phillies at Dodgers
Sun., 8 p.m. ET, ESPN Radio
NLCS page
Kuroda was a big-game pitcher in Japan. That's why the Dodgers signed him. He pitched in a traditional hitters' park in Japan but never grew flustered nor showed fear on the mound. He'd give up runs here and there but for the most part stayed away from providing a big inning for an opposing team. He needs to continue that trend.

Kuroda must force the Phillies to mount rallies in multiple innings. The NL playoff games this season have been lopsided affairs; in eight of the nine games, the winning team has scored more runs in one inning than the losing team has in the entire game.

Kuroda's best pitches are the splitter and slider. If he can command his fastball, he'll be able to work in his secondary pitches. I think you have to beat the Phillies with off-speed pitches in fastball counts. The Phillies can punish fastballs: If they know one is coming, they'll make you pay.

Phillies starter Jamie Moyer just refuses to give in. He's had so much success late in his career because he stays away from the middle of the plate and changes speeds. If Moyer can get ahead of hitters, he can keep them off-balance. The Brewers had some success against him when they were patient. The first strike from Moyer isn't always the best strike from him. If you wait him out and force him to throw it over the plate, you usually can find something to work with.

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6:30 p.m. ET
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Buster Olney,
Eric Young



Inside Edge On Sept. 14, the Angels held a 19½-game lead in the AL West and the Cubs held a 7½-game lead in the NL Central. According to Inside Edge's scouting data, both clubs radically altered their first-pitch hitting approaches during the final two weeks: The Angels became less aggressive and the Cubs swung more freely. Meanwhile, their division series opponents stayed consistent with their first-pitch approaches:

Take percentage on first pitch
  Through Sept. 14 Sept. 15-30
Red Sox 77.0 77.0
Dodgers 73.1 73.6
Angels 71.3 77.1
Cubs 71.4 64.7


1967: Future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson hits a home run and strikes out 10 batters in leading the St. Louis Cardinals to the world championship over the Boston Red Sox. Gibson allows only three hits as the Cardinals win Game 7, 7-2.

1986: The Boston Red Sox stave off elimination with a dramatic win against the California Angels in Game 5 of the American League playoffs. Dave Henderson's ninth-inning home run against Donnie Moore ties the game, setting the stage for the Red Sox's 7-6 win in 11 innings. The Red Sox later come back to win the series in seven games.

1988: Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers blanks the New York Mets on five hits to win the National League Championship Series.

2005: The White Sox's 2-1 victory that ties the ALCS at one game apiece with the Angels is best remembered for home-plate umpire Doug Eddings' controversial call. He appears to signal that the third out of the ninth inning has been made, but A.J. Pierzynski takes first base as Eddings belatedly rules the catcher had trapped the swinging strike. The White Sox take advantage of the incident as pinch runner Pablo Ozuna steals second and scores the winning run on Joe Crede's double.