LA uses same NLDS rotation for NLCS

LA uses same NLDS rotation for NLCS

PHILADELPHIA -- Not messing with success, Dodgers manager Joe Torre on Wednesday named the same starting pitchers for the first three games of the National League Championship Series that he used to sweep the Cubs in the NL Division Series.

Torre said Derek Lowe would start Game 1 on Thursday night, Chad Billingsley for Game 2 on Friday and Hiroki Kuroda for Game 3, when the series resumes on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium.

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Torre would not name a Game 4 starter, saying that it would depend on the outcome and who is used in the first three games.

Most likely, Game 4 will be started by Lowe on three days' rest. The way the series is scheduled, Lowe would pitch Game 1 on eight days' rest and Game 4 on three days' rest, but get his regular four days' rest before pitching Game 7, if necessary.

Torre said the other candidates to start Game 4 are 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw and 42-year-old Greg Maddux, the latter seeming the least likely because Torre was so pleased with his versatility and resiliency coming out of the bullpen in Game 1 in Chicago.

"Greg gives us a great deal of variety because he can start, he can warm up quickly in the bullpen and he wills himself to do whatever we want him to do," said Torre.

Torre's preference is to hold Kershaw back for long relief.

"He gives us, God forbid, a long guy," said Torre. "He or Maddux, but I prefer Maddux as an option later on. [James] McDonald would be another option."

The Dodgers overwhelmed the Cubs in the playoffs with a 2.00 ERA from a pitching staff that had a 2.49 ERA in seven regular-season games against the Cubs. Dodgers pitchers had considerably more trouble against the Phillies, with a 5.48 ERA in eight games. Kuroda had the best success against the Phillies, allowing two runs in 13 innings.

Lowe faced them once, allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Billingsley allowed three runs in six frames. Kershaw allowed 10 runs in nine innings and Maddux faced the Phillies three times, allowing four runs in 13 1/3 innings in two starts for the Padres and seven runs in a 5 2/3-innings start for the Dodgers. Brad Penny allowed six runs in three innings, but he is disabled and will not pitch.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.