The Phillies Win Game Five, If...

Maybe all the Phillies need is to get away from the Busch Stadium Squirrel. Whatever the problem, winning Game 5 is certainly within the realm of possibility.

They hit a little; end of story. 

Actually, there is more to it than that, but certainly, success begins with the offense. It may surprise a lot of people to realize that if you take out the pitcher's stats at the plate against the Cardinals, the Phillies are hitting .266 (33-for-124) in the NLDS. But in their two losses in the series, Phillies hitters are managing just a .217 (13-for-60) mark, which certainly defines the problem. The stats for the Phillies offense in their two wins versus their numbers in their two losses truly do tell the story.

GAMES HR RBI AVG AB R H 2B 3B BB KO OBP SLG OPS
2 Wins 3 14 .303 66 14 20 3 0 4 11 .338 .485 .823
2 Losses 0 6 .217 60 7 13 3 1 4 14 .265 .300 .565

With old friends Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter going up against each other in Game 5, it figures to be a low-scoring type of game. In Game 1, Halladay was hit for three first inning runs, but then settled in and by the time he was done, he had given the Phillies eight innings and had allowed just those three runs. Current Cardinals players are hitting a combined .213 against Halladay in his career, including just a .154 (2-for-13) mark for Albert Pujols and a .167 (1-for-6) record against Matt Holliday. The real Halladay killer for the Cardinals has been Lance Berkman, who is a career .375 (3-for-8) hitter against the Phillies ace and is the only Cardinals hitter to ever homer off of him and he's done it twice. Skip Schumaker .364 (4-for-11) and Rafael Furcal .308 (4-for-13) have also hit Halladay hard. In this series, Ryan Theriot and David Freese have hurt the Phillies, but those two are a combined 1-for-12 (.083) against Halladay in his career.

As you might expect, the Phillies haven't fared much better against Carpenter and have hit him at just a .229 clip over his career. Chase Utley .467 (7-for-15) is really the only guy with big numbers against Carpenter. Ryan Howard .273 (3-for-11) and Hunter Pence .217 (5-for-23) are the only current Phillies who have homered against Carpenter, with each having one home run against the 36 year-old right-hander.

Carpenter and Halladay were teammates in Toronto from 1998 through 2002. Carpenter missed the entire 2003 season and then signed with St. Louis as a free agent. The two are best of friends, which only stands to make the Friday night battle all the more compelling. The two - along with their wives - rented a condo together during spring training one year and the two spent much of their time on a boat they owned, spending their evenings fishing.

"Even though I'm a little older (36, as compared to Halladay's 34), we went through a lot of the same stuff at the same time," Carpenter told USA Today

"You know, it was a great experience for me, going through that with a guy that was in a similar situation. We really felt like we kind of came up together and learned together. To be able to do that with another guy, I think, helps you not only learn from him, but you see things that he goes through, and you pick up on that," said Halladay, also to USA Today.

It figures that Halladay, who retired the last 21 Cardinals he faced in Game 1, should be able to hold the Cardinals in check, but again, it comes back to whether the Phillies offense can produce against one of the better pitchers in baseball. In Game 2, Carpenter was pitching on three-days rest for the first time in his career and it showed. The Phillies were able to attack him for four runs over three innings. This time, Carpenter is on full rest and the outcome may be different if he is able to keep the Phillies bats silent.

"It's going to be a great game," Hunter Pence said. "It's the best offense in the National League going against one of the best pitchers in the world. It doesn't get much better. That's what the postseason is about."



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