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My Picks: Dodgers in 6, Red Sox in 7

The Dodgers:

Because Derek Lowe/Cole Hamels is essentially a draw -- OK, maybe a slight edge to Hamels -- while every other pitching matchup favors the Dodgers.

Because Manny Ramirez is the most unstoppable force in baseball right now.

Because I don't trust Brad Lidge, no matter how many saves in a row he has converted.

Because the return of lefty Hong-Chi Kuo to the Dodgers' bullpen will be crucial in facing Ryan Howard and Co. in the late innings.

Because the Dodgers' starting pitchers are, by and large, ground-ball pitchers -- the type that thrive (or at least survive) in Citizens Bank Park.

The Red Sox:

Because Jon Lester is the most dominant pitcher on either team, and he'll be on the mound in Games 3 and 7.

Because what happened in the regular season does not matter one bit -- no matter how many times you beat the Red Sox, and under what circumstances. Just ask the Angels.

Because for all his problems, Josh Beckett did strike out six Angels batters in five innings -- a sign that his pure stuff is still there. I expect him to be better his next time to the mound, which will be Game 2, and better still the time after that, in Game 6.

Because Scott Kazmir has walked 37 batters in his last 12 starts (including the ALDS), and no team in the majors drew more walks this season than the Red Sox.

Because that extra off-day in the middle of the series will benefit no one more than Jonathan Papelbon.

Because just when you start to forget about Big Papi, he's going to do something to make you remember him in a big way.

Because I picked them to win it all when the playoffs started, and there's no turning back now.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 9, 2008; 8:07 AM ET
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Manny is the "most unstoppable force in baseball right now"? Give me a break.

This year against the Phillies Manny is hitting only .212, 1 HR, 5 RBI in 10 games (three with the Red Sox).

In Citizens Bank Park - Phillies have home field advantage in this series - Manny is hitting .136 this year, no extra base hits. In his career at CBP, Manny is .191 over 12 games. He was lousy at the old Vet, too - 0 for 11.

With the Dodgers against the Phillies this season, Manny was a non-factor.

I don't doubt that the series should be close - the Phils were swept in LA this year, and swept the Dodgers in Philly - but don't give me this Manny garbage. Over his career he just hasn't performed against the Phillies. Will he show up to play, now that it is the playoffs? Possibly. But the record so far suggests he'll be a non-factor in this series.

A few more stats:
Season home runs
Phillies 214, Dodgers 137 (Phillies also led the Dodgers in 2B and 3B)
Phillies 762, Dodgers 659
Phillies 3.88, Dodgers 3.68
ERA 7th inning +
Phillies 3.28, Dodgers 3.39

The Dodgers get slightly better pitching, but the Phillies are built to hit - especially in CBP. The Phillies' bats should overpower the Dodgers' starting pitching, and their bullpen gets the edge.

Close series, but the Phillies win in 6 or 7.

Posted by: Philly Phan in Phairfax | October 9, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

LA in seven. The Phils are good, but LA's starters (as a group) are better, Rafael Furcal, Manny and Russell Martin are hot, and the LA pen is deep and talented. This should be a great series.

Posted by: Va Dodger | October 9, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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