For the second straight year the Phillies and Dodgers are clashing in the NLCS. Last year created great memories to recall like Matt Stairs’ moonshot and Cole Hamels brilliance. What does this season have in store for us?
Well, one thing is for sure, the Phillies are going to be facing some old friends in the form of Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, and Jim Thome. Just last Friday, I penned the best of the Phillies all-decade team, and all three of them were named to it. During their time in Philly, I was fans of all of them, and have closely followed their careers since departing. Heck, I still wish Wolf was on the pitching staff…gotta love the Wolf Pack!
Old Friend #1- Randy Wolf
Last pitched for the Phillies in 2006, which he missed the first portion of the year due to rehab of his arm. In 2007 he landed in Los Angeles with the Dodgers and has bounced around since then with the Astros, Padres, and now back to the Dodgers again. At the age of 32 in 2009, he had one of his best seasons as he started a career high 34 games and racked up 214.1 innings with a 3.23 ERA. In the NLDS versus the Cardinals he was roughed up and got the quick hook after 3.2 ip. Wolf is starting game 1 Thursday night, so he controls the momentum. Career opposing the Phillies: 3 gs, 1-1 record, 18.1 ip, 21 k, 4.42 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and .243/.765 avg/ops against.
Old Friend #2- Vicente Padilla
Ended his time with the Phils in 2005, essentially being given to the Texas Rangers for nothing, because they no longer wanted him. He pitched with the Rangers up until a few months ago, and they ran him out of town too without any real compensation. The Dodgers were in a pinch for pitching, and swooped in and brought him aboard. He’s been terrific with LA (4-0, 3.20 ERA), and dominated St. Louis for 7 shutout innings in the NLDS. Not sure which game he’ll be starting, but Joe Torre is likely to give him the ball during the series because of his recent success in Dodger Blue. Career opposing Phillies: 1 gs, 0-1 record, 6 ip, 3 k, 10.50 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and .292/1.060 avg/ops against.
Old Friend #3- Jim Thome
Traded to the ChiSox in the winter of 2006 to make a permanent spot at 1st base for Ryan Howard. He went on to belt his 500th homerun in Chicago and was traded to the Dodgers this August to be a left-handed pinch-hitting power threat. He no longer plays the field, so the only real threat he presents to the Phils this series is if he comes in during the 8th or 9th inning to face Ryan Madson or Brad Lidge. Career vs. Phillies: 4-10 (.400 avg), 7 bb, 1.047 ops.
Of course, there are some Phillies that have been members of the Dodgers prior to this season too. Pedro Martinez started his career in LA, but they traded him to Montreal because they thought he’d never be a good starting pitcher with his small stature. They were right, he wasn’t good, he was un-f’n-believable. Chan Ho Park was their big import to the States from Korea back in the 90’s. Shane Victorino was flyin’ closer to Hawaii as a member of the Dodgers minor league system before the Phils snatched him up in the Rule 5 draft in 2005. Jayson Werth played for LA, where he broke his wrist, and was left for dead...thankfully the Phils helped resurrect his career. Paul Bako has been all over the place in his career including Los Angeles in 2005.