Dodgers Go For Sweep in Philadelphia, What Else is New?

Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 3.62) vs. Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.65)

Lineup: 

M Ellis 2B
Punto 3B
Ramirez SS
Puig RF
Ethier CF
Van Slyke LF
Hairston 1B
Federowicz C
Nolasco P

The Dodgers collected their first 10-game winning streak on Saturday in Philadelphia since 2006 when they won 11 in a row.

Jul 19, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (47) throws during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Their amazing 42-8 run is one for the record books and for the hearts of all the Dodger fans who have been loving this team during the good and during the bad. After a disastrous start to the season, the Dodgers have turned things around in epic style. I have never seen such a drastic turn around by a Dodger team in my lifetime, and the incredible run is far from over. With a 8 1/2 game lead in the N.L. West, the Dodgers magic number is now 33. Yes, we can begin to talk about magic numbers. Isn’t it glorious?

Clayton Kershawdefeated the Phillies for the first time in his career in game two on Saturday afternoon, and the brilliant left-hander has

Aug 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe (5) gets high five from catcher A.J. Ellis (17) after hitting 3-run home run in the top of the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies, 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

just about garnered his second Cy Young Award already with another dominant season on the mound for the Dodgers. Could the Dodgers just give Kershaw his payday already? Like I’ve said before, with starts like yesterday Stan Kasten should be waiting in the dugout with a $200 million check for the ace. Heck, he may even have raised his worth even more than previously thought and the price tag for the best pitcher in baseball may be upwards of $250 million now. Scott suggests to just hand Kershaw a blank check and the keys to Dodger Stadium and call it a day.

My how things have changed in the City of Brotherly Love, haven’t they? The Phillies used to torment the Dodgers in past seasons, and while I won’t rehash any of the postseason nightmares, I can now say that the tables have certainly turned. The Philadelphia fans can certainly hang on to their Shane Victorino jerseys if they want to, but the Dodgers are the team of now. The past is the past, and while the ghosts of Jonathan Broxton are a part of our history, it is time for this 2013 team to make new history. Now led by interim manager Ryne Sandberg, this Phillies team is really a non-threat. They’ll have to revamp their roster in the offseason, but a lineup which doesn’t have Ryan Howard in it can’t possibly challenge this multi-faceted Dodger team right now.

Ricky Nolasco will go to the rubber in game three versus Philadelphia. Ricky, who was named after his father’s favorite Dodger

Aug 7, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels (35) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Monday, has a 4-1 record and a 2.97 ERA since becoming a Dodger. The right-hander picked up his ninth win of the season his last time out against the Mets when he went 6 1/3 innings and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks. Nolasco has actually won his last three starts, and he will be vying for his 10th overall victory on Sunday morning. In his career, Ricky is 8-6 with a 3.78 ERA against the Phillies. He has made 9 starts at Citizens Bank Park and is 6-2 with a 3.25 ERA there. He has allowed 8 homeruns in the ballpark over those 9 starts so the righty will be trying to limit the fly balls allowed in game three.

Cole Hamels, the San Diego native, will be trying to stifle the Dodgers and prevent the sweep for the Phillies. Hamels is 3-1 with a good 1.64 ERA in his career (6 starts) against the Dodgers. Although the left-hander has a league-leading 15 losses, Hamels has had success against Los Angeles in the past. He did win in his last start against the Braves which in fact was a complete game. He allowed 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 9 and walking 1. A lot of the Phillies problems have been blamed on Hamels this season, but has he been that bad? Like Kershaw but not quite as bad, Hamels hasn’t garnered much run support from his teammates this season so perhaps his overall record is a bit misleading. Check out this excellent analysis of Hamels and his woes on FanSided’s Call to the Pen Site. The author, Jake Dal Porto, links Hamels struggles to his ineffective fastball. Yet Hamels is coming off of a very good start against a very tough Atlanta team. The Dodgers should not let their guard down with Hamels, and since the lefty has had success against the Dodgers in the past it won’t be an open and shut game on Sunday.

While Matt Kemp won’t be returning to the Dodgers until September, the Dodgers are on the verge of adding Brian Wilson to the mix. Oddly enough, number 00 has been hanging with the bullpen even though he hasn’t been activated. A roster move would need to be made. I feel that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The bullpen has been lights out, and I would hate to see the Dodgers option Chris Withrow. They may just carry an extra reliever and option Scott Van Slyke down again.

Grab a cup of coffee and join the viewing pleasure at 10:35 a.m. on Prime Ticket. You don’t want to miss out on Blue history!

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Tags: Cole Hamels Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies Ricky Nolasco