Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
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  • Game info: 8:07 pm EDT Mon Oct 19, 2009
  • TV: TBS
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If the Los Angeles Dodgers want to avoid falling to the brink of elimination, they could use a big effort from a pitcher who was once a favorite of Philadelphia Phillies fans.

The Dodgers will send Randy Wolf(notes) to the mound Monday night when they try to even the NL championship series in Game 4 at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia won 11-0 Sunday to take a 2-1 series lead behind Cliff Lee(notes), who struck out 10 in eight stellar innings. Ryan Howard(notes) drove in three runs, Jayson Werth(notes) had a two-run homer and Shane Victorino(notes) added a three-run shot in the franchise’s most lopsided postseason victory.

“We expect to win when we come to the ballpark, and that’s kind of who they are,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies chased Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda(notes) in the second inning.

Wolf (0-0, 4.91 ERA) will try to give Los Angeles a longer outing Monday. He made his lone career postseason start in Game 1 of the NL division series against St. Louis, allowed two runs over 3 2-3 innings in that 5-3 victory Oct. 7, and hasn’t pitched since.

The veteran left-hander became popular with Philadelphia fans while spending his first eight major league seasons with the Phillies. Some fans started a group dubbed the “Wolf Pack” in which they wore wolf masks on days he pitched.

“Well, I have a lot of memories here, a lot of good memories here,” Wolf said. “I always enjoyed pitching here. The fans were always really great to me. But I think it’s a lot of fun just being in a playoff game, an NLCS game against my former team. The fact that it’s a rematch from last year makes it exciting.”

Wolf, however, was booed during introductions before Sunday’s game and knows that he won’t have many people cheering for him or wearing wolf masks in this start.

“They’re born and raised Philadelphians and they’re Phillies fans first and foremost,” he said. “I think for the sake of their own lives they’ll keep that under wraps.”

One factor in his favor is his experience in Citizens Bank Park. He started the first game ever played in the stadium with the Phillies on April 12, 2004. He’s 9-7 with a 4.30 ERA in 27 starts at the ballpark, including 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 17 strikeouts in two as a visitor.

He’s also fared well against Howard and Werth, who are each 1 for 9 off him.

“They have a very solid lineup, from top to bottom,” Wolf said. “You know, you’ve got to be really on your game against this lineup because not only do they have guys that hit the ball out of the park, but they have very patient hitters, as well.”

Wolf will try to slow down a Philadelphia lineup that had 11 hits Sunday - six for extra bases. Howard has six RBIs in the series and has hit safely in all seven postseason games, batting .385 (10 for 26) with 12 RBIs.

The Dodgers have produced totals of two runs and eight hits in the last two games. Manny Ramirez(notes) had two of their three hits Sunday.

“You never want to get your rear end kicked,” manager Joe Torre said. “But you don’t toss and turn and wonder if you made the right move. It’s still only one game and we’re in position to tie the series tomorrow.”

Joe Blanton(notes), who pitched out of the bullpen in the Phillies’ division series against Colorado, will make his first start since Oct. 2. He went 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 31 starts in his first full season in Philadelphia.

“I’m going to do whatever it takes to help us win,” Blanton said. “If that means being in the bullpen or not throwing at all or whatever it is, I’m going to do as much as I can to help us win and help us achieve our goal that we’ve been working for all year.”

His last postseason start was a memorable one - Game 4 of the World Series against Tampa Bay last year. He gave up two runs over six innings to earn the win, but the outing was remembered more for his homer in the fifth inning.

“When I think back, I really just think about all the adrenaline I had after I did it,” Blanton said. “I enjoyed it, but almost didn’t get to because I was so worried about trying to bring myself back down to pitch and not letting myself get out of rhythm.”

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four career starts against the Dodgers. He also started Game 4 of last year’s NLCS against them, giving up three runs in five innings and not getting a decision in a 7-5 Phillies victory.

Ramirez is 14 for 25 (.560) with one homer and eight RBIs against Blanton.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Wolf Bal vs. J. Blanton LAA
11-7 Record 12-8
3.23 ERA 4.05
160 K 163
58 BB 59
1.10 WHIP 1.32

Scoreboard

Monday, Oct 19