NLCS notebook

Manny mantra: What, me worry?

For the second straight playoff series, the Dodgers turned to postseason veteran Derek Lowe for the Game 1 start. For the second straight playoff series, the Dodgers turned to postseason veteran Derek Lowe for the Game 1 start. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
By Nick Cafardo
Globe Staff / October 10, 2008
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PHILADELPHIA - Manny Ramírez was in his "don't-worry-be-happy" mode after last night's 3-2 Dodgers loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

As the player who has become the team leader, he's trying to relay that message to his younger teammates.

"We don't have to worry," said Ramírez. "We have a good team. Everybody here played good tonight. We tried our best and we couldn't get another run.

"We'll keep getting better and better."

In the first inning, Ramírez doubled high off the 19-foot wall in center field just above the 409-foot marker, driving in Andre Ethier, who had doubled with one out. A few inches more and it would have accounted for that extra run the Dodgers wound up needing.

"There I go hitting the ball to the deepest part of the ballpark," Ramírez said. "It was a quality at-bat. I can't control where I hit it. I didn't hit it to the right spot for a home run. What can you say?"

Ramírez, who has now hit safely in 17 of his last 18 LCS games (.333 during that stretch), had hit poorly in Philadelphia - he was 2 for 14 at Citizens Bank Park during the regular season - but he said, "I've hit the ball hard here. Maybe I don't have as much to show for it."

Ramírez also singled in the fifth inning, and in the eighth, the crowd of 45,839 rose to its feet and screeched when he lined hard to third base for the second out.

"We just have to be patient," said Ramírez. "If we keep playing like this, something good is going to happen."

Both Rafael Furcal, who made the error that led to Chase Utley's tying two-run homer in the sixth, and Derek Lowe, the losing pitcher, thought the ball Ramírez hit in the first was out.

"I was hoping it was gone," said Lowe. "Manny just missed it. It's one of those games of inches. A couple of inches higher and we'd still be playing."

Furcal said, "I thought he hit it really good. He hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark. It goes to show you how much power he has."

It's set up for Kuo

Lefthander Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a scoreless inning after he was added to the Dodgers' roster, replacing closer Takashi Saito, who couldn't convince manager Joe Torre that he had recovered from elbow issues. Kuo missed the Division Series with elbow problems as well, but appears sound. One Dodgers official indicated that Kuo probably won't be able to pitch back-to-back days, but will be vital in offsetting the Phillies' lefthanded power such as Ryan Howard and Utley. "I certainly wouldn't be afraid to put him in any pressure situation," said Torre . . . The Dodgers used Greg Maddux in relief for an inning. He allowed one hit and threw a double-play ball . . . The Phillies kept their roster the same as in the Division Series. They considered activating former Red Sox reliever Rudy Seanez, but opted to keep lefty J.A. Happ . . . James Loney's single extended his hitting streak at Citizens Bank Park to 11 games.

American League Championship Series
Series Overview
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