The Los Angeles Dodgers landed in the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday, not realizing that the Philadelphia Phillies organization was about to fire its manager, Charlie Manuel. With the nine-year skipper leaving the team mid-season, the Dodgers will have a much more difficult time winning the three-game series.
As former third base coach Ryne Sandberg takes over for Manuel as interim manager, the Phillies will likely be amped up and emotional, especially in tonight’s opening game.
The Dodgers already face a tough task as Zack Greinke is scheduled to face off against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. The Dodgers have had a tough time against Lee in the past, as the 6-3 lefty has a 1.40 ERA in six starts against the Boys in Blue. Tonight’s game could turn into an emotion-filled assault for the Phillies, as the team will likely want to “win one for the Gipper.”
If the Dodgers can get past the first and toughest test, the final two games ought to be winnable enough. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is expected to face off against a mediocre Kyle Kendrick, whose record is 10-9 with a 4.48 ERA. The final game of the series is more winnable for the Phillies as the Dodgers’ newest and less consistent starter Ricky Nolasco is scheduled to face off against three-time All Star Cole Hamels.
The Phillies have been terrible as of late, losing 19 out of their last 23 games and currently sit 14 games below .500, but this is just the type of event that could provide the spark the club needs to pull out a surprising win against the hottest team in baseball. Coming into this weekend, arguing a sweep for the Dodgers would not have been terribly far-fetched, but this recent development could make that task much more difficult.