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10/18/09 9:30 AM ET

Postseason Predictions: NLCS Game 3

All signs point to pitchers' duel between Lee and Kuroda

The Phillies have a hot hand ready to go on an anticipated cold night at Citizens Bank Park Sunday, when the best-of-seven National League Championship Series resumes.

The series is tied at 1, but the similarity ends there.

complete postseason coverage PostSeason.tv Instead of the 90-plus-degree temperatures at Dodger Stadium in Game 2, the needle is expected to stop in the upper 40s during Game 3, which begins at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS.

But when you're hot, you're hot, and the Phillies' Cliff Lee certainly is cooking during the postseason. The veteran left-hander started the first and fourth games of the Phils' NL Division Series victory over the Rockies, winning Game 1 with a complete-game effort and allowing two earned runs, walking three and striking out 10 over 16 1/3 innings overall.

Lee faces a lineup that historically has not given him a whole lot of trouble. Of the Dodgers batters who've faced the southpaw at least 10 times, only Manny Ramirez (5-for-11, 2 HR, 5 RBIs) has hit him hard.

Opposing Lee Sunday night will be the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda, who'll be making his first start of this postseason. The Japanese right-hander hopes to pick up where he left off in 2008, when he held the Phillies to five hits and two runs over six innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.

The Phillies have 10 position players who've faced Kuroda, and they've struggled to a meager .128 average with two RBIs, three walks and 11 strikeouts in 47 at-bats against the 34-year-old.

So -- at least according to the numbers -- a classic pitchers' duel could be in the works.

The following chart breaks down how the experts from MLB.com and MLB Network see Game 3 of the NLCS shaping up.

NLCS Game 3 Predictions
Greg AmsingerTMRHEReason
MLBNLAD362Lee allows two runs over eight frames of 10-K ball
PHI10170
Hal BodleyTMRHEReason
MLB.comLAD260Lee prevails; Utley atones for miscues.
PHI581
Jim DuquetteTMRHEReason
MLB.comLAD271Lee shuts down Dodgers; Phils hit Kuroda hard.
PHI5101
Vinny MicucciTMRHEReason
MLB.comLAD9150Lee has first postseason slipup; Manny delivers.
PHI611o
Jeff NelsonTMRHEReason
MLB.comLAD271Lee continues postseason dominance.
PHI6101
Matt VasgersianTMRHEReason
MLBNLAD261Lee escapes early jam to down Dodgers.
PHI7130

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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