Kuroda loves L.A., namely Dodger Stadium
KURODA'S HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE
By Mark Simon, ESPN ResearchThe 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)|
|BB per 9||1.4|
|AB per HR||56.0|
|2008 postseason at home: 1-0, 0.00, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 SO|
KURODA HAS BIG-GAME MENTALITY
By Steve Phillips, ESPN analystThe 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.
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BBTN MINUTE: NLCS GAME 3 PREVIEW
STAT OF THE DAY
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|
THIS DATE IN POSTSEASON HISTORY: OCT. 12
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.