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Dodgers-Phillies NLCS Preview

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The Bums getting ready for the NLCS. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

The National League Championship Series is finally here.

Many people are spinning their heads trying to judge the head-to-head matchups. Whose infield is better? Who has the better pitching? Etc. Etc.

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If that’s how these playoff series were measured, then the Florida Marlins wouldn’t have won the World Series in 2003. Neither would the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005.

The biggest obstacle the Dodgers face in this NLCS is this: Manny Ramirez on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Most sports fans know of the SI jinx. See the Cubs last week. The Patriots prior to the Super Bowl. The sports god do not look kindly on teams that make the cover of the rag, so the Dodgers must play especially well to overcome this.

Okay I realize just how silly that last paragraph sounds, but sports (especially baseball) is filled with superstitions. Ask the fans in Boston and Chicago.

But beyond that, the series will come down to whether the Dodger pitching can clamp down on the Phillies offense. My answer to this question is yes. Outside of six innings the dangerous Phillies hitters were shut down by the Brewers mediocre pitching. Those hitters will be facing a Dodger staff that gave up only six runs to the team that scored the most runs in the NL during the regular season.

This is how the series will break down. The Dodgers will lose tonight's game against a great pitcher in Cole Hamels. But the Dodgers will sweep the next four games, SI jinx or no. Dodgers will win in five games.