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nlcs

NLCS Preview: Phillies! Dodgers! Dance-Off!

Look at these pretty boys.

The National League Championship Series begins this evening — it's not going to rain in Los Angeles, right? — and it's a rematch of last year's NLCS. The Phillies won that one in five games, thanks in large part to a fat man named Matt Stairs, who is still hanging around, older and fatter.

For New Yorkers' rooting interest, one suspects the Dodgers are the pick, considering how the Phillies were considered the Mets' rival until the Mets realized they weren't good enough to have rivals this side of the Nationals. (Oh, and what a rivalry the Mets-Nationals rivalry was!) Also, Citi Field is an ode to the Dodgers' great history because they had to honor somebody's history, right?

Much of the early discussion of this series has revolved around the pitching staffs. The Dodgers have decided to throw Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 (and, potentially, on short rest in Game 4 and full rest in Game 7), and the Phillies have 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels pitching, which would be more impressive if he didn't carry his dog in a backpack.

But the bullpens are the key: The Dodgers' is outstanding, and the Phillies' has a dog in a backpack. Brad Lidge saved two games for the Phillies against the Rockies, but he was hardly impressive, and a blowup from him — or anyone else in the Phillies' pen — seems inevitable. We think the Dodgers in six.

By the way, the general consensus is that a Yankees-Dodgers World Series would be a nationwide hit because of the Joe Torre subplot. (He used to manage the Yankees, you see.) We are less than convinced that Yankees fan care about this that much anymore. Doesn't the Joe Torre era already feel like a long time ago? More to the point: an entirely different time? We can't imagine Torre and Don Zimmer hanging out with Nick Swisher.

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Photo: Getty Images