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10/16/09 7:59 PM ET

Loney's postseason resume impresses

Slugger racks up big numbers in short time amount of time

LOS ANGELES -- Following a 2-1 win over the Phillies in Friday's Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, James Loney had 59 postseason plate appearances, not an insignificant sample size.

His postseason batting average is .358, with an on-base percentage of .424 and a slugging percentage of .528 for an OPS of .952 which is over 150 points higher than his career regular-season totals.

Nothing insignificant about that, either.

"Well, you know the players nickname for him -- 'Big Game,'" said manager Joe Torre.

Dodgers at a glance
2009 record: 95-67
2008 record: 84-78
NL West champs
NL best record
NLCS matchup:
Phillies at Dodgers
Postseason tix: Buy now

Loney: Taking good swings
Kuo: Long road back
Thome: Back in Philly
Loney: Building resume
Bullpen: Led by Broxton
Torre: Rep precedes him
Blake: Chemistry guy
Kershaw: Game 1 nod?
Dodgers: Eyes on prize
Kemp: Path of the pros
Furcal: Back healthy
Kershaw: Like Koufax
Hudson: Keeping head up
Billingsley: Unknown role
Ethier: Slump over
Torre: Tough decisions
Kershaw: Elite comparisons
Kemp: Nearly elite
Kershaw: Path to the pros
Billingsley: Fate in balance
Ethier: Aims to improve
Torre: Back to playoffs
Kershaw: Ready to rock
Rotation: Plenty of options
Kemp: Chasing LA history
Bullpen: Dominant pair
Honeycutt: Pitching guru
Kemp: Tools to match talent
Ethier: Walk-off wonder
Billingsley: Vying for spot
Ethier/Kemp: Dynamic duo
Torre: Another pennant race
Pierre: Receives high praise
Kershaw: Beyond his years

"Reggie, Jeter, Loney -- I don't know when he was born, but it should have been in October," teammate Juan Pierre shouted as he left the dugout for batting practice before Game 2.

Some players just seem to rise to the occasion, although the flip side of that explanation is that some players don't handle the pressure well. Loney has the rare ability of appearing as if there's nothing special about the occasion. He plays in October as if it's May or August, as if there's nothing different.

"It is a regular game," explains Loney. "It just happens in October. I'm just here trying to get to the end, the World Series, and that's when I'll celebrate."

Torre often compares Loney to his high-achieving former center fielder with the Yankees, Bernie Williams, because of their carefree, sometimes spacey approach to baseball and life. Loney's teammates say he sometimes doesn't know what day it is or what time it is, but he seems to know when it's time to play.

Torre said the personality trait that makes Williams and Loney different also makes them well-suited to handle the pressure that often claims others on the game's biggest stage in October.

"Calmness," said Torre. "They don't know what's supposed to make them nervous. The most upset I've seen James was when he was fighting for his swing. He has a calmness and that's good to have. It helps them perform when the game speed ups for others, because they don't let it speed up for them. Even though it's more than a game with all that goes on around it, you still play it like it's just a game.

"Last year was a perfect example. With everything building up around him, he's sort of 'what's going on?'"

Loney set the tone for last year's sweep of the Cubs in the NL Division Series with a grand slam off Ryan Dempster in a Game 1 win at Wrigley Field and drove in six runs in the series. Against the Phillies in the NL Championship Series, he hit .438. In a one-game appearance during the 2006 playoffs against the Mets, Loney went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He went 3-for-12 against the Cardinals in last week's NL Division Series and was 3-for-7 through the first two games of the NLCS.

"He's unusual by some standards, but he knows what he's doing," said Pierre. "He's the kind of guy, you just roll with it. He'll make you laugh when he doesn't mean to. He'll have a goofy approach. It's not really goofy, it just seems goofy. He might have three different swings on one given night, but he has a plan and it works for him. I think that's why if he makes an out in one of these games, he doesn't get scared all of a sudden or let it get into his head."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.