Lost in all the hoopla of the Red Sox losing a 9-game lead to the Rays was the Cardinals overcoming an 8.5 game deficit to the Atlanta Braves. It was not long ago that the Cardinals seemed to have no shot at the postseason. Just ask Nyjer Morgan back on September 7th:
“Where still n 1st and I hope those crying birds injoy watching tha Crew in tha Playoffs!!! Aaaaahhhhh!!!”
I can’t be the only person who wouldn’t mind seeing the Brewers have to get through the Cardinals setting up a Morgan vs. Pujols confrontation.
Unfortunately, that won’t end in the same manner Gaby Sanchez’s displeasure with Morgan did. Take a moment and watch Morgan get victimized by the finest pro wrestling clothesline since John Bradshaw Layfield retired.
Philadelphia Phillies vs St. Louis Cardinals Preview
Roy Halladay’s first trip to the postseason was quite a memorable one, (he threw only the second no-hitter in playoff history in his first playoff start) though it ended in bitter disappointment. The two-time Cy Young Award winner, his teammates, and just about everyone else in Philadelphia expects the Phillies to win the World Series this time around.
Then again, the city of Boston thought the same thing
Led by their Four Aces, the Phillies cruised to their fifth straight NL East title, winning a franchise-record and major league-best 102 games.
The Cardinals needed an incredible collapse by Atlanta and help from Philadelphia to earn the wild card. St. Louis trailed the Braves by 10 1/2 games on Aug. 25, but went 23-8 the rest of the way and got in after Game 162 when the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of Atlanta.
The Cardinals (90-72) won six of nine against Philadelphia during the season, with two of those wins coming right after the Phillies wrapped up the division.
The health of Matt Holliday (hand) is a huge question mark. Holliday is one of the most underrated elite hitters in baseball and will be an integral part of the Cardinals attempt to solve The Philly Phour
During the Cardinals’ mad dash toward the top of the National League Wild Card standings in September, Lance Berkman played in 25 games, batted .374, had an OPS of .941, drew 14 walks, scored 16 runs and had seven extra-base hits.
Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35 ERA, 220 K’s), Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40 ERA, 238 K’s) and Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79, 194 K’s) combined for a 50-23 record, 2.51 ERA and 652 strikeouts in 682 1/3 innings. They also compiled an arrangement of numbers no starting trio had assembled in the modern era of baseball.
Entering the 2011 season, five teams since 1901 had two starting pitchers throw at least 200 innings, average at least eight strikeouts per nine innings and finish the season with an ERA+ of at least 130. Halladay, Lee and Hamels all surpassed these thresholds in 2011.
The Phillies had the poorest September (16-14) of the eight postseason teams. That may have been related to the fact they were the first to clinch, on Sept. 18.
Of all their possible NLDS matchups, this could be least favorable to the Phillies. By personally eliminating the Braves, they arranged a date with the only team against which they had a noteworthy losing record (3-6).
Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals NLDS TV Schedule and Pitching Matchups
- TV Network: TBS (Game 2 on TNT taking the spot of WCW Saturday Night)
- Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 5:07 p.m. ET @ Philadelphia
- Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 2 at 8:07 p.m. ET @ Philadelphia
- Game 3: Tuesday, Oct. 4 time TBA ET @ St. Louis
- Game 4: Wednesday Oct. 5 time TBA @ St. Louis
- Game 5: Friday Oct. 7 time TBA @ Philadelphia
- Game 1: Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.39) vs. Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35)
- Game 2: Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45) vs. Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40)
- Game 3: Jamie Garcia (13-7, 3.56 vs. Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79)
- Game 4 (probable): Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79) vs. Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69)
- Game 5 (probable): Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45) vs. Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35)