—From Citizens Bank Park
UPDATE, 3:30 pm: Reports have Joe Blanton on the NLDS roster instead of David Herndon. He appeared in five games since returning from the DL late in the season, mostly out of the bullpen. The Phillies are likely to take 11 pitchers, according to Charlie Manuel.
UPDATE, 3:10 pm: Tony LaRussa has decided to pitch Chris Carpenter on three days rest; he will now start Game 2 of the series instead of Game 3. Jaime Garcia has been moved up as well, and there has not been a starter announced for Game 4.
When asked how anxious the team was to get things going, Roy Halladay said matter-of-factly, “We were anxious in Spring Training really.” That short quote speaks volumes about what the Phillies think of themselves. Clearly, they think quite highly of their abilities and have since the last pitch they saw in the 2010 NLCS. The hunger hasn’t subsided, the drive is still constant, and was even through an eight-game losing streak.
St. Louis beat the Phillies in three out of four in September and six of nine overall, but Halladay mentioned that there was really no rhyme or reason for it. “Sometimes you just lose games…I don’t necessarily see the scaled being titled one way or the other. I don’t think there’s necessarily one thing that led to it.”
Halladay was also very frank when it came down to hoisting a World Series trophy. “We want to win. We all want to win, and believe me, we want to win bad. But if it doesn’t happen, we know how to handle it. But we sure hope it does.”
He also quoted Shakespeare when it came down to giving the Cardinals respect. “I heard a quote a long time ago, ‘I came to bury Caesar, not praise him.’ I think it’s true. We’re all well aware of how good the [Cardinals] team is. We obviously have a respect for what they’ve done and how they’ve played, but you have you be confident going in that you’re going to be able to beat them.”
Charlie Manuel Manuel spoke highly of the Cardinals offense, which ranked first in the National League in runs scored during the regular season. “They’ve got contact hitters, they’ve got guys that can hit the ball out of the yard.” He thinks their consistency is what helped them finally get into the postseason. “Every one of them, if you look, they’re hitting anywhere from .280 to .300. That’s a sign of a good, consistent offense.”
He knows his troops are well rested, but a few of his guys are still dealing with various ailments. “I think when you say well rested I think in baseball sometimes I think it’s a repetitious sport and you have routines, and I think it’s better sometimes to stay in your routine and don’t get out,” said Manuel.
“I think we’ve definitely got enough rest, but I also think right now that we’re ready to start the playoffs. I think we’re ready to go, and I’m looking forward to it, and I know our players are.”
That sounds like a man who can’t wait for Game 1 to begin at 5:07 on Saturday.