Charlie Manuel, in the hours before Game 1: "We need to score some runs early."
It will the the story of this NLCS -- whether or not the Phillies can score early runs off of the Dodgers' starting pitchers, beginning with Clayton Kershaw. Everybody can see it. Everybody knows it. There is little mystery here, no great insight. The imperative is obvious. The Phillies need to win the games before the Dodgers' formidable bullpen becomes an issue.
"It's important for us to go out and get the lead," Manuel said, speaking in the pre-game interview room at Dodger Stadium. "I think that definitely helps our starters..."
And then he talked about the lefty-laden Dodgers bullpen, backed up by closer Jonathan Broxton. It is the strength of the Los Angeles team. And the dynamic is different this time because the Dodgers have the homefield advantage. The Phillies need to grab a game here in the first two -- and seeing as how Pedro Martinez is starting Game 2, a huge gamble by gambling Charlie Manuel, the imperatives for Game 1 continue to grow.