Opening Series Cruical for Dodgers

The Dodgers meet the Mets in first round action of the National League Division series, with the first two games in Shea Stadium in New York. Realistically, the Dodger must win at least one of the first two to have a fighting chance to win the best three of five series and move on to the NLCS.

Derek Lowe, the Dodgers most consistent starter over the final months of the regular season, will draw the opening start and will be followed by Hong-Chih Kuo. Greg Maddux will start the home opener on Saturday and thus will be unable to start a second time in the series.

Scheduled Mets Game 1 starter Orlando Hernandez is questionable for today's National League Division Series opener after injuring his right calf during Tuesday's workout at Shea Stadium. Tom Glavine would get the nod if El Duque can't go.

Nomar Garciaparra has been out of action since the first game of the San Francisco series with a sore knee and a pulled obligque muscle. Jeff Kent and Brad Penny are not 100% but will be available.

Lefthander Hong-Chic Kuo will be key to the series opening in New York. He stopped the Mets in his last start there and has been impressive since switching from reliever to starter.

Kevin Kenney, former Dodger minor league manager and now a MLB analyist on FOX,, had this to say about the coming series:

"I picked the Dodgers over the Mets way back in March and I feel the rotation matches up very well for Los Angeles. The Dodgers will upset the Mets and advance to the NLCS.

"Though the first pitch of the 2006 World Series had yet to be thrown, I'm going to look a couple of weeks into the future and make this prediction: When the smoke has cleared, we will see a renewal of old championship rivals. The Dodgers and Yankees will play for all the marbles."

As one of my very dear Italian friends used to say, "From your mouth to God's Ears."
 Series begins Wednesday 

Wed., Oct. 4 at Shea Stadium 
1:00 P.M. PT, ESPN / MLB.TV
Lowe vs Hernandez 

Thur., Oct. 5 at Shea Stadium
5:00 P.M. PT, FOX / MLB.TV
Kuo vs. Glavine 

Sat., Oct. 7 at Dodger Stadium
Maddux vs to be announced

Sun., Oct. 8 at Dodger Stadium 

Mon., Oct. 9 at Shea Stadium