Playoff Series: Game 3 of 5

Philadelphia won 4-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 15
LA Dodgers6
Game 2: Friday, October 16
LA Dodgers2
Game 3: Sunday, October 18
LA Dodgers0Final
Game 4: Monday, October 19
LA Dodgers4Final
Game 5: Wednesday, October 21
LA Dodgers4Final

    8:07 PM ET, October 18, 2009

    Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    LA 000000000 0 3 0
    PHI 42002003 - 11 11 0

    W: C. Lee (1-0)

    L: H. Kuroda (0-1)

    Phillies-Dodgers Preview


    On the verge of taking a commanding two-game lead in the National League championship series, the Philadelphia Phillies' bullpen couldn't shut the door.

    With the way Cliff Lee has pitched in his first two postseason starts, the much-maligned relief corps might not be needed for Game 3.

    The ace left-hander gets the ball Sunday night at Citizens Bank Park looking to help the Phillies regain control of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Lee (1-0, 1.10 ERA) went the distance in his first career playoff outing, earning a 5-1 win over Colorado in Game 1 of an NL division series. He was also on the mound for Philadelphia's Game 4 clincher, allowing three runs -- one earned -- over 7 1/3 innings but leaving without a decision in the 5-4 victory.

    "He's a guy that's a gamer and that's what I love about him," outfielder Shane Victorino told the Phillies' official Web site. "It's definitely a nice position to be in to have him getting the ball in Game 3."

    It looked like Lee would be in position to put the Phillies within a game of a sweep after Pedro Martinez pitched seven brilliant innings Friday afternoon in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, leaving with a 1-0 lead.

    The 37-year-old Martinez had thrown only 87 pitches, but was lifted in favor of former Dodger Chan Ho Park to begin the bottom of the eighth. In a wild inning where Philadelphia used five pitchers, Los Angeles tied the score thanks to a Chase Utley throwing error -- his second of the series -- and took the lead when J.A. Happ walked in Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers all they would need to seal a 2-1 victory.

    "We've been doing it all year, it seems like. We're relentless. We never give up," catcher Russell Martin said. "We go out there and compete, play through 27 outs, and whatever happens, happens. But we never keep our heads down."

    Martin's at-bat proved the game's most pivotal. With two on and no outs in the eighth, Martin hit a ground ball to Jimmy Rollins. The shortstop went to second to force out Ronnie Belliard, but Utley's throw sailed away from Ryan Howard, turning a potential double play into a tie game when Juan Pierre was given home.

    "I'm sure nobody in Philadelphia hates that more than Chase, but at the same time, he'll correct it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I have all the faith in the world in him as far as that goes. That's going to happen to anybody."

    After playing two games in pristine conditions at Chavez Ravine, the teams are in for a rapid climate change. Rain pelted the Philadelphia area Saturday and the forecast calls for more of the same Sunday, making a washout a possibility.

    Lee has already had an extra day between starts since pitching Monday, but he's fared well on five days' rest, going 4-4 with a 2.75 ERA -- 3-2 with a 2.71 ERA and two complete games since coming over in a trade from Cleveland.

    Should a rainout push the game to Monday, though, Lee is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA when he has six or more days between starts.

    The southpaw has faced the Dodgers once, allowing one run over 7 1/3 innings on June 20, 2008, in Los Angeles as the Indians won 6-4 in 10 innings.

    Manny Ramirez, who's hitting .227 in the playoffs and whose lone hit in nine at-bats in this series was a two-run homer in Game 1, is 6 for 14 (.429) with two home runs in his career against Lee.

    Like Lee, the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda (0-0, 0.00) has made two career postseason starts, but the right-hander has won them both. After pitching 6 1/3 shutout innings in a 3-1 Game 3 win over the Chicago Cubs in a 2008 division series, Kuroda limited the Phillies to two runs and five hits over six innings in a 7-2 victory in Game 3 of last year's NLCS.

    That was the only game the Dodgers won in last season's playoffs against the Phillies. Kuroda has yet to pitch in this postseason and a herniated disk left his status in doubt earlier this month, but considering he's 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four career starts versus Philadelphia, manager Joe Torre will give him the nod.

    "I try not to think about last year," Kuroda told the Dodgers' official Web site. "This is a new season. But having said that, they obviously have a powerful lineup and I was able to pitch well against them. Perhaps there is a little bit of confidence, but like I said, this is a new season, and I just have to pitch my best game against them."

    Utley and Jayson Werth are both 2 for 7 in their careers against Kuroda, but Howard, Rollins and Victorino are a combined 0 for 19.

    "There's some thoughts in the back of my head, but he's a good pitcher," Victorino said. "We faced him this year, but you can also put all of that aside."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     Los AngelesPhiladelphia
    Current StreakW2W1
    Last 104-64-6

    Pitching Matchup

    Los AngelesPhiladelphia
    H. Kuroda
    0-1, 40.50 ERA

    Last Game:
    10/18 at PHI
    1.1 IP, 6 ER
    Dec = Loss
    C. Lee
    2-0, 2.81 ERA

    Last Game:
    11/2 vs NYY
    7.0 IP, 5 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.Los AngelesPhiladelphia
    1. R. Furcal, SS J. Rollins, SS
    2. R. Belliard, 2B S. Victorino, CF
    3. A. Ethier, RF C. Utley, 2B
    4. M. Ramirez, LF R. Howard, 1B
    5. M. Kemp, CF J. Werth, RF
    6. J. Loney, 1B R. Ibanez, LF
    7. C. Blake, 3B P. Feliz, 3B
    8. R. Martin, C C. Ruiz, C
    9. H. Kuroda, P C. Lee, P