NLCS Game 3: Kuroda > Lee

October 18, 2009 at 10:40 am | Posted in 2009 NLCS vs. Phillies, Cliff Lee, Hiroki Kuroda | 8 Comments

There’s a lot to be worried about for Hiroki Kuroda today, it seems. There’s the fact that he hasn’t pitched in three weeks and is coming off a neck injury, to be sure, and then there’s the ever-present lazy journalism of trying to drum up stories about last year’s overblown ‘headhunting’ incidents.

But me? I’m nothing but confident. Just look at the facts…

1) Kuroda was excellent after returning from being hit in the head.

Kuroda Fist PumpHis first start back was on September 5, and in five starts he was very effective – a 2.79 ERA in which he allowed opponents to get on base at just a .269 clip. That even includes a lousy outing against Pittsburgh in which he lasted just 4 innings, and even that didn’t push the ERA over 3.

2) Kuroda owns the Phillies.

Hiroki’s got four career starts against Philadelphia:

8/14/08: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 0 BB
8/24/08: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
10/12/08: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 BB
6/6/09: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 K, 3 BB

In just two seasons, Kuroda’s built up quite the history of success against the Phillies, plus this won’t even be the first time he’ll face them in October. It’s even more than that though; look at Kuroda against the current members of the Phillies:


.179 OBP! .336 OPS! Just two extra-base hits in 58 plate appearances, and Ryan Howard in particular being completely neutralized. How does that not give you confidence? It’s not just Kuroda, too…

3) Cliff Lee hasn’t had the same level of success against Dodger batters.

While Kuroda’s dominated Philly, here’s Lee against the Dodgers he’ll see tonight:


That’s 5 times he’s seen one of these men take him deep, as compared to 0 times that Kuroda could count, and an OBP against that eclipses Kuroda’s OPS against – with Manny in particular hitting him hard.

This is not, of course, to say that this game is in the bag – clearly, Lee is a great pitcher, and Citizens Bank Park is going to be cold, wet, and unfriendly tonight. Just don’t forget how much the Dodgers do have going for them – especially when they get into the bullpens.



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  1. Great write-up, but worth mentioning, that list of PAs for Phils against Kuroda doesn’t include last year’s NLCS.

    So everyone should mentally add Howard’s 2-3 (w/ a double), Utley’s 1-2 (double, walk), Werth’s 0-2, Rollins’s 0-3, Victorino’s 0-3, etc…

  2. Well, so much for that prediction. Today’s quickly shaping up to be a horrible day. Down 4-0 in the first, yep, this is gonna be great.

  3. This post = fail.

    • Eh, I was trying to be upbeat. Wolf really should have started this game.

      • It doesn’t matter who starts, though, if we don’t score runs off Lee. It’s still early, but the way it’s looking now, Lee is cruising (the hope is that we break into the bullpen, but Lee is pitching like a man ready to go 9 innings). If Wolf started today and only gave up one run, we still might lose.

        Meanwhile, if Wolf starts tomorrow against Blanton, and puts up a strong start, we can split these two games.

    • I take solace in the face that Joe Blanton is pitching for the Phils in game 4.

  4. MSTI wrote: “Citizens Bank Park is going to be cold, wet, and unfriendly tonight.”

    Man, did this ever turn out to be an understatement… Let’s face it, the chances of beating Lee were precisely ZERO going into this game. It’s why we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the Blue won game two. Hopefully, the offense can knock Blanton around tomorrow and then go out there and get Hamels on Wednesday. I expect CK1 (trademark) to come back really strong in game 5.

    I’m off to see a movie. I’d rather leave and find out the Dodgers rallied to win than sit here and watch them die a slow, excruciating and impending death in this game.

  5. […] False. First of all, Kuroda’s been a very reliable starter when healthy since coming to LA, and as I wrote yesterday, there were several reasons to believe in him against the Phillies. You could make the case that […]

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