Phils ride win streak to site of Series berth

Phils return to scene of Series berth

SAN DIEGO -- The Phillies, who have won six straight games, return to the site of one of their greatest triumphs in team history on Thursday night when the take the field at Dodger Stadium to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In October the Phils beat the Dodgers, 5-1, at Dodger Stadium behind the stout pitching of Cole Hamels to win the National League Championship Series in five games and capture their first NL pennant since 1993 and advance to the World Series.

Hamels, who was 2-0 in two starts against the Dodgers in the NLCS, will be on the mound for the Phillies on Thursday against Clayton Kershaw in a battle of left-handers.

This will be the first of a four-game series and matches the Phillies, the team with the Majors' best road record (19-6) against the Dodgers, the team with the Majors best home record (20-6).

The teams met in May at Citizens Bank Park, where the Dodgers took two out of three from the Phillies, who are just 12-14 at home this season.

A year ago, the Dodgers swept all four games at Dodger Stadium from the Phillies while Philadelphia returned the favor, beating L.A. four times at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies have been bolstered by the return of reliever J.C. Romero, who was back on the roster on Wednesday following the completion of his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy against performance-enhancing substances.

Last week, the Dodgers welcomed back right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who hadn't pitched since Opening Day after getting sidelined two months with a strained oblique muscle.

Kuroda will pitch on Saturday against Joe Blanton, while Jamie Moyer and Eric Milton will square off on Friday in a battle of left-handers.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hasn't officially named his starter for Sunday, but it appears that rookie left-hander Antonio Bastardo, who won his Major League debut against the Padres on Tuesday, will likely get the start against lefty Randy Wolf.

"I haven't talked to [pitching coach Rick] Dubee about it," said Manuel, "but right now we need a starter, and more than likely it will be Bastardo. I'm not saying it is him definitively, but it's pretty close unless something happens.

"I like the way he pitched. I think he'll be able to throw his secondary pitchers [slider and changeup] this next time out."

Bastardo threw primarily fastballs in beating the Padres.

Pitching matchup
PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (3-2, 5.21 ERA)
Hamels couldn't find his rhythm against the Nationals on Saturday. In six innings, Hamels gave up eight hits and six earned runs, including a two-run pinch-hit homer to Ronnie Belliard in the sixth. Hamels struck out seven and walked one in a 104-pitch performance. Hamels' ERA climbed from 4.68 to 5.21. At times, his fastball was in the 92-93 mph range. Other times, it dipped to 88-89. Location hurt Hamels the most, especially on the homer.

LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-3, 4.34 ERA)
In his last outing, Kershaw posted a quality start at Coors Field, holding the Rockies to three runs on four hits and four walks in six innings, striking out four. His damage came in a two-inning stretch, when the left-hander walked three and balked in a run in the third before yielding a two-run homer and the lead in the fourth. Kershaw recovered well, holding Colorado hitless for his final two innings and watching his team reclaim the lead in the top of the seventh. His poise under pressure was a definite sign of growth for the quickly maturing southpaw.

Right-hander Brett Myers will undergo surgery on his inflamed right hip on Thursday. New York-based orthopedist Bryan Kelly, who operated on Chase Utley in November, will perform the surgery. ... Antonia Bastardo was one of two pitchers who made their Major League debuts on Tuesday against Cy Young Award winners. Bastardo bested Jake Peavy and Oakland's Vin Mazzaro beat Bartolo Colon and the Chicago White Sox. It was the first time that two pitchers accomplished that feat on the same day.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 4-5, 6.75) at Dodgers (Eric Milton, 2-0, 3.14), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-3, 5.86) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-1, 2.53), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (TBD) at Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-1, 3.21), 8:00 p.m. ET

Sandy Burgin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.