The Dodgers look to even the NLCS at two games a piece tonight, when they host the Phillies in Game 4. The team can only hope that things go as well as they did in Game 3, when they jumped all over Phillies' pitcher Jamie Moyer for five runs in the first, a lead they were able to sustain until the game's final out. Pitching is likely to be subplot again tonight, as the Dodgers will send their ace Derek Lowe to the mound, where he'll face the Phillies' Joe Blanton on just three days' rest.
Joe Torre knows exactly how well Lowe can perform when pitching on short rest in the post-season. In Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, Lowe (then with the Red Sox) started on just two days' rest and shut down Torre's Yankees in New York, allowing just a single hit in six innings of work. Given the strength of the Dodgers' bullpen, they'd be in great shape if Lowe can give them that type of outing tonight. Torre seems to feel good about the team's chances with Lowe, and explains why.
"A lot of it is a mind-set on the part of the pitcher," Torre said. "He's pitched on the big stage before at just about every level of the postseason. I don't think he's going to overthink the situation."
In addition to the short rest, it'll be interesting whether Lowe chooses to pitch inside and try to intimidate the way that Hiroki Kuroda did in Game 3. His high, inside throw near the head of Shane Victorino in the third inning caused the benches to clear. No punches were thrown, but plenty of words were exchanged. Both Victorino and the Dodgers' Russell Martin (who was hit by a pitch which prompted Kuroda's head hunting) said that it was part of the game, and that they've put it behind them for Game 4. We'll see if Lowe follows suit tonight, but if he's able to continue to master his sinker ball, it's likely that it it won't be necessary.