The National League Championship Series begins tonight in Los Angeles. It is a rematch of the 2008 NLCS between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies beat the Dodgers in five games last year before going on to win the World Series.
The Dodgers will start 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw while the Phillies counter with Cole Hamels, who was last year's NLCS MVP and World Series MVP.
I don't underestimate the Dodgers. They are more than Manny Ramirez. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are forces with whom to be reckoned. Their bullpen is devastating.
Yet I have to go with the Phillies. Their starting pitching is about even and their bullpen has been erratic compared to the Dodgers. But Brad Lidge pitched well in the NLDS and if he continues to pitch well then he neutralizes the Dodgers bullpen. Pound for pound the Phillies offense is just better - Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
Phillies in six.
NLCS MVP - Jayson Werth
N.B. I am hoping Werth's mother will be in attendance.