10/17/09 8:17 PM ET
Cold temps to challenge Phils, Dodgers
Forecast for Game 3 calls for rain, 40-degree weather
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
It may not get any better when the National League Championship Series is scheduled to resume on Sunday night with the Dodgers and Phillies tied at one game each. The forecast is calling for more rain and temperatures in the low 40s.The rest of the week is looking much better, but Sunday night could be challenging for both teams. "Nobody is here to talk about excuses," Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino said. "When you play this game, everybody is going to try to find a way to make a story out of something. I think the weather is one of those things. Both teams have to play in the conditions. "Weather is going to play a factor. It's not going to be as hot as you'd like it to be. It's not going to be baseball weather. But both teams still have to go out and play the game." Dodgers manager Joe Torre said the weather should favor the pitchers, and Phillies starter Cliff Lee didn't have any problems pitching in the cold in Colorado during the NL Division Series against the Rockies. "I think that affects the hitter more than the pitcher," Lee said. "The pitcher is up there going. You're steadily moving around and your heart rate is up. The position players, the guys behind me and the guys having to swing the bats are more worried about the cold than I am. Sometimes maybe the ball feels a little slick a little bit, so you've got to be conscious of that."
The Phillies are just happy to be back home again after gaining a split of the first two games of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium. They were six outs away from going up 2-0 on Friday afternoon but let two runs slip away in the eighth inning and lost, 2-1."You don't like to lose," said second baseman Chase Utley, who had a crucial throwing error in the eighth inning. "It hurts. But there is a lot of heart on this team. We'll be fine." The Phillies still know they have the home-field advantage in this series right now. They know that if they win three at home, they won't have to go back to Los Angeles again this year. "The only thing you can do is go with what you've got, and in this case that's a split," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "The worse thing would be to go down 0-2. But to go home with a split is pretty good." The Dodgers, trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the eighth on Friday, nearly put themselves in an almost untenable position. But the Dodgers were able to rally in the bottom of the eighth and pull out a huge victory. "When you get wins like this, you cherish them and you try to keep that feeling and momentum," said veteran Jim Thome, who had a big single in the eighth. "We are going to try to do that going into Philadelphia."
With each team winning a game in Los Angeles, this series is just getting started."We won, and in the playoffs, everything is about winning," outfielder Manny Ramirez said. "We showed that we never give up and we are going to go over there and play hard for nine innings. We only need three more wins to do something special. We are going to keep going and see what happens." They go into Game 3 against Lee, who pitched superbly in his two starts against the Rockies in the NLDS. The Dodgers counter with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who has a career 1.44 ERA against the Phillies but who missed the NLDS against the Cardinals because of a herniated disk in his neck. It will be Phillies weather, but the Dodgers just need one victory in Philadelphia to ensure the series at least getting back to Los Angeles. That wouldn't have been the case if they had let both games get away at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers won two of three in Philadelphia this season but are 8-11 at Citizens Bank Park since it opened in 2004. The Phillies were 45-36 at their place this year. "You don't want to go into Philadelphia -- they're very tough in that ballpark -- and have too high a mountain to climb," Torre said. "Hopefully we can go in there, and Kuroda is going to have to pitch a good game. He's going against Cliff, so it's going to be a good series." The Phillies have to fight off the disappointment of letting Game 2 get away. They don't think that's going to be a problem. Defending world champions don't get rattled by one loss. "I look at our team, and we've been resilient about the last three years," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We play day to day. I know this was a tough loss, and it's a big loss in a way. But at the same time our team, we've bounced back before, and we'll bounce back again. "I've got all the faith in the world in our team. It's going to be a good series, guys. This series by no means is over. It's going to be a tough series."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.