PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies will stay with what got them to this point when the National League Championship Series opens here on Thursday evening: Left-hander Cole Hamels will start Game 1, followed by right-hander Brett Myers, lefty Jamie Moyer and righty Joe Blanton, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee.
No official word yet on the Dodgers, who were traveling and expected to arrive later Tuesday night. They're set up to begin with the same three starters who pitched them to a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the divisional series: Right-handers Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.
It is expected that Dodgers manager Joe Torre will leave those three in place and go to a four-man rotation in the best-of-seven NLCS. Assuming he does, he and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt must decide on a No. 4 starter, which probably will come down to left-hander Clayton Kershaw or right-hander Greg Maddux.
Based on how the two pitched down the stretch, as well as on the chance to slot a lefty in against a potent Phillies lineup that includes MVP candidate Ryan Howard, it is expected that Kershaw will get the nod as the Game 4 starter.
As for the Phillies, who ranked fourth in the NL with a 3.88 ERA this season, the current alignment leaves them very well-balanced between right- and left-handed starters as well as relatively hard-throwers (Myers, Blanton), a change-up specialist (Hamels) and a soft-tosser (Moyer).
"We're comfortable the way it is," Dubee said. "You start flipping it around, and then somebody is going to have 10 days off (between starts), and that's not good."
Philadelphia's starting pitchers ranked fourth in innings pitched among NL rotations (966 2/3) and ranked second in quality starts (88).