Shane Victorino(notes) didn’t endear himself to Los Angeles Dodgers fans in last year’s NL championship series. The Philadelphia Phillies’ speedy center fielder may not get the chance to inflame them further.
With Victorino’s status in doubt, the Phillies travel to Los Angeles for the first time since the postseason matchup, opening a three-game set with the major league-leading Dodgers on Thursday night.
This will be Philadelphia’s first game at Dodger Stadium since it won the pennant in five games before beating Tampa Bay in five games for the second title in club history.
A second straight postseason matchup between the Phillies and Dodgers could happen. While Philadelphia (31-20) has a three-game lead in the NL East, the Dodgers (37-18) have a 9 1/2-game bulge in the NL West over second-place San Francisco—the largest in any division so far.
But Philadelphia could be without Victorino after he strained his left hip and left in the sixth inning against San Diego on Wednesday. The Phillies went on to win their season-high sixth straight with a 5-1 victory.
Victorino, batting .300 with 27 RBIs and nine stolen bases, will be reevaluated before this series’ opener.
He played a significant role in last season’s NLCS, becoming the target of frequent boos by the usually laid-back Dodgers fans.
Victorino drove in four runs and preserved a lead with a leaping catch in an 8-5 home win in Game 2, hit a tying, two-run homer en route to a 7-5 road victory in Game 4 and had four putouts in center field during the series clincher.
Cole Hamels(notes) (3-2, 5.21 ERA), the NLCS and World Series MVP, will make his first road start against the Dodgers since Game 5, when he gave up one run and five hits in seven innings. Hamels failed to get a decision in a 5-3, 10-inning loss on May 14, and is 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts - including two in the postseason - against Los Angeles.
The left-hander earned a win Saturday despite allowing six runs and eight hits in six innings of a 9-6 triumph over Washington.
“I really wanted to put hitters away when I could, but at least I found a groove,” the left-hander said after allowing an unearned run, two hits and a walk in 1 1-3 innings.
Romero threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings in last season’s NLCS and posted two wins in the World Series.
Clayton Kershaw(notes) (3-3, 4.34) will get the start for Los Angeles. The left-hander surrendered three runs, four hits and walked four in six innings to earn a win in an 8-6 victory over Colorado on May 27.
Kershaw is 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in three regular-season starts and two postseason relief appearances versus the Phillies.
Los Angeles got six excellent innings from Chad Billingsley(notes) in a 1-0 win over Arizona on Wednesday. The Dodgers won two straight against the Diamondbacks after losing three of their previous four overall.
“Hudson’s beat up, just from playing every day,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Los Angeles won two of three games at Philadelphia last month.