Needless to say, it’s the biggest game of the year tonight. Here are some notes we put in the game notes for the media…
► Tonight’s game is the first NLCS game at Dodger Stadium in exactly 20 years. Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS vs. New York was on Oct. 12, 1988. Orel Hershiser, who is broadcasting tonight’s game for ESPN Radio, shut out the New York Mets, 6-0 to capture the National League pennant for the Dodgers.
RECORD-SETTING INFIELD – Tonight’s ceremonial first pitches will be thrown out by Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey, who played together with the Dodgers for a Major League-record 8 ½ seasons. The quartet appeared in four World Series, including the World Championship team of 1981. Lopes currently serves as the first base coach for the Phillies, Garvey and Cey work in the Dodgers’ front office, and Russell works for Major League Baseball’s umpiring division.
BATTLED TESTED – Nomar Garciaparra has appeared in the LCS twice with Boston in 1999 and 2003. The Whittier native batted .400 (8-for-20) with two homers and five RBI in 1999. In 29 career postseason games, Garciaparra is batting .318 (34-for-107) with a .380 on-base percentage, .598 slugging percentage, seven homers, and 23 RBI. He ranks seventh among active players with a .314 career batting average.
THIS DATE IN DODGER HISTORY – On this date in 1985, the Dodgers notched five doubles in Game 3 at St. Louis to tie the club NLCS record set on Oct. 7, 1977.
GETTING ON – Andre Ethier is batting just .222 (4-for-18) in five postseason games this year, but he has reached base at a .391 clip during the playoffs, as he’s drawn five walks. Since August 5, Ethier is hitting .354 with a .439 on-base percentage and .615 slugging percentage.
WHAT A RELIEF – A quintet of Dodger relievers threw 5.2 scoreless innings in Game 2. In five postseason games, the Dodger bullpen has posted a 1.65 ERA (3 ER/16.1 IP). During the regular season, the Dodgers’ relief corps ranked second in the NL with a 3.33 ERA behind only the Phillies (3.19).
SEÑOR OCTUBRE – Manny Ramirez drove in three runs in Game 2 to give him seven during the playoffs and 71 in his postseason career, which ranks second all-time behind Bernie Williams (80). Ramirez has hit safely in 40 of his last 45 postseason games, with a .351 (60-for-171) average during that span. His teams are 58-42 overall in the postseason.
► Ramirez has three homers in his first five playoff games this year. The only other Los Angeles Dodgers to accomplish that feat are Steve Garvey and Ron Cey, who homered three times in the first five games of the 1978 NLCS.
MEDIA MADHOUSE – More than 800 credentials have been issued for the 2008 NLCS at Dodger Stadium. That includes more than 30 daily newspapers from around the country, several wire services and major sports websites, and media outlets from at least eight different countries – the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.
CATCHING SOME HITS – Russell Martin has a hit in all five postseason games this season and seven of the eight playoff games he’s played in during his career. He has a .313 career postseason average (10-for-32) with five RBI and six runs scored.