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Cardinals, Phillies In NLDS Fall Classic
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Oct 7 2011 @ 12:33 pm In St. Louis Cardinals | 4 Comments
After 162 regular season games and four grueling playoff games the Cardinals’ and Phillies’ season comes down to this…game five of the NLDS. With their dramatic 5-3 win over Phillies on Wednesday the Redbirds forced a fifth and deciding game in Philadelphia Friday.
Tuesday’s 3-2 Cardinals loss in game 3 to Phillies lefty Cole Hamels admittedly made me a bit nervous about my predictions. I had predicted after the Cardinals 5-4 come from behind victory in Philadelphia that the teams would split their two games in St. Louis and the series would return to the city of brotherly love for a decisive game five. Well, that’s exactly what has happened just not the way I thought it would happen.
Considering his success at Busch Stadium this year (9-4, 2.55 ERA) I figured Jaime Garcia would match Cole Hamels pitch for pitch and lead the Cardinals to a victory in game 3. And with the exception of ONE pitch I was partially right. Garcia did indeed match Hamels through six innings. Garcia had only given up 3 hits and Hamels had surrendered 5 hits through six innings. However, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel outsmarted Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa by pinch hitting for Hamels in the top half of the seventh inning. With two runners on base Manuel brought in pinch hitter Ben Francisco who greeted Garcia with a three run homer to centerfield to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead. Ironically, St. Louis faced a similar situation in the previous inning when LaRussa chose to keep Garcia in the game with two runners on and two outs. Garcia struck out swinging. Unfortunately my prediction for game 3 was wrong as the Cards went on to lose the game 3-2.
Considering Edwin Jackson’s lack of experience in the playoffs and Roy Oswalt’s success (5-0 in 10 starts) I thought the Cardinals were assured of a game 4 loss. As I corralled my snacks to watch the game it was 2-0 Phillies before I could find a comfortable spot on my chase lounge. Three consecutive hits by the first three Philadelphia batters and much to my dismay my predictions were already taking form. Though unhappy with what I was seeing I felt as if I was in the same league as Einstein with my game four prediction. However, assuring me that I was no genuis Jackson would settle down and the Cardinals would deal Oswalt his first post season loss as the Cards won game four 5-3. Third baseman David Freese provided the fireworks on this October night with a double, homer and four RBI’s. It is worthy to note here that Phillies slugger Ryan Howard went 0-8 in the two games in St. Louis with 5 strikeouts.
Game five will pit best friends Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals against one another in this winner take all finale. This one will be a pitcher’s duel for sure as Carpenter has 144 games in his career with one Cy Young Award (2005) and Halladay has won 148 career games and two Cy Young Awards (2003 & 2009). While much is being made of Carpenter’s and Halladay’s friendship you can be sure that there will be no thoughts of a friendship on Friday. Halladay is looking to follow up game one’s performance (an 11-6 victory) with a win and an invitation to the National League Championship Series. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter is looking to rebound from a bad outing in game two when he surrendered four runs to the Phillies on three days rest in a no decision as the Cardinals eventually won the game 5-4. This one is sure to be a fall classic.
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