NL playoffs: Can Dodgers maintain recent dominance over Expos?
Most of the time when the Montreal Expos play the Los Angeles Dodgers, it's as though the Expos have booked passage on the Titanic. Going into the National League's best-of-five championship series (first two games here), Los Angeles has beaten Montreal 18 of the last 19 times they have met at Dodger Stadium. Things are a little better in Montreal, but not much, where the Dodgers were 5-1 in 1980 and 2-2 this season.
"I don't exactly know why we have dominated Montreal so convincingly over the past couple of years," said LA third baseman Ron Cey who has just come off the disabled list missing the Dodger-Astro series because of an injured arm. "There is no reason why we should dominate the Expos because they have everything a team needs to win against anybody, including pitching, defense, power and speed. The fact that Montreal beat Steve Carlton in a pressure situation to eliminate the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies from the playoffs gives you a pretty good idea of just how talented this team is.
"Obviously the Dodgers pitching staff has had a lot to do with our success against the Expos," Cey continued. "But in thinking back I also seem to remember that people all up and down our lineup have consistently come through with key hits against Montreal. Still I'm sure that nobody on this team is foolish enough to feel that the Expos won't be as tough or tougher than the Astros -- and they took us to five games."
Cey, who hasn't played since he was injured Sept. 9 against San Francisco, is one of five Dodgers who have hit 30 or more home runs at least once in their careers. Ron led the team in game winning hits this year with 9; had a stretch in May when he hit 8 homers in 15 days; and had his highest batting average (. 288) in nine years.
"Even though I've been taking extra batting practice, physically I won't be the same," Ron said, "But I'm so excited about being in this series and so sure I can come back and hit right away that I expect this feeling to overcome whatever I've lost."
Having Cey back (and we're assuming manager Tom LaSorda will start him immediately) means Pedro Guerrero will be shifted from third base to his normal position in right field with Rick Monday possibly getting some spot time in center.