Ah, a Friday night game where the Cardinals play the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park … that reminds me of my favorite Cardinals game ever. And while the Cardinals could definitely find themselves playing Game Five of the National League Division Series again this year (although minus Chris Carpenter), the 56-71 Phillies definitely won’t. But they will take on the Redbirds this weekend — and here’s a preview of the series ahead.
How We Got Here
The Cardinals begin a six-game road trip that takes them to both Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, with the first stop being Philadelphia. The Cards enter tonight’s series having won four straight, including a sweep of the Reds, and seven of their last 10 games. They’re a season-high 12 games over .500, just 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central standings and currently hold the top spot in the NL wild card race with a two-game lead over the Giants.
The Phillies, on the other hand, are … well, not very good. They’re solidly in last place in the NL East, 17.5 games behind the first-place Nationals, and have spent much of the season there too. They did just win two of three from the Mariners, although they did not face Felix Hernandez, but have won just four of their previous 10 games. Continue reading
We’ve seen this too many times before … (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
A loss on Wednesday
After five straight wins: okay.
These things will happen.
Last night, Phillies here.
Unfamiliar guy starting.
You know what that means.
Lack of offense back.
We liked all the hits and runs
And the winning too.
But only four hits
Not many scoring chances
And just one run scored.
One hit with RISP
Plus four LOB.
Of course we remember Oct. 7, 2011. Game Five of the National League Division Series, the epic match-up of best buddies Chris Carpenter and the wild card Cardinals against Roy Halladay and the 102-win-best-record-in-MLB Phillies.
And now, with the retirement on Monday of Halladay and the official retirement of Carpenter last month, we remember it anew.
That the long-time friends were facing each other for the first time, and in such a situation, was of course much hyped, yet justifiably so. Each was a Cy Young winner, Carpenter in 2005 and Halladay twice — winning as a Blue Jay in 2003 and a Phillie in 2010, the season he threw a perfect game against the Marlins and a no-hitter against the Reds in his postseason debut. (Thank you again, baseball gods, for letting Brandon Phillips be the final batter in that one.)
Then came Game Five itself, living up to every bit of the hype. The Cardinals took charge in the first inning, with a lead-off triple from Rafael Furcal followed by a Skip Schumaker double providing the only run of the game. Halladay scattered four other hits throughout his eight total innings, striking out seven and walking one — That Guy Who Used to Play First Base — intentionally. Carpenter was even better, as we all so gladly remember: only three hits, an equal number of strikeouts, no walks, one final out primal scream and one Nick Punto shredding.