Update, 8:07 pm: Game times have been announced for the remainder of the series.
- Game 3: 5:07 pm
- Game 4: 6:07 pm(or 8:07 if no other Game 4)
- Game 5: 8:37 pm
The Philadelphia Phillies fell to an early deficit in the first game of the National League Division Series, but one swing of that bat changed everything. Ryan Howard completely launched Kyle Lohse‘s offering into Citizen Bank Park’s right field second deck. Howard’s homer sparked the Phillies offense as the game became somewhat of a blowout. Roy Halladay made one bad pitch to Lance Berkman, but settled in to shut down the St. Louis Cardinals.
In Game 1, it took a few innings before the Phillies offense came to life, but today the Phillies need to come out swinging early. Two former Cy Young winners are on the mound, making arguably the best pitching matchup of the series. Because of these two starters, both teams are going to want to get on the board quickly.
When a team’s number two starter has a 2.40 earned run average, things must be pretty good. That’s exactly the case with the Phillies and Cliff Lee. Lee will seek to continue his postseason dominance as he is making his eleventh career postseason start. In the playoffs, Lee is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA. He has been especially good in the Division Series, going 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA.
Chris Carpenter is no stranger to postseason play; he played a big role in the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series run. In nine postseason starts, Carpenter is 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA. Carpenter will be pitching on three days rest, something he has never done in his professional career. Carpenter is a veteran, but with his history of injuries and lack of experience on short rest, it will be interesting to see how he performs.
Ryan Howard had a big night last night, and the Phillies are hoping he can continue his success against his hometown team. Howard has a .360 average, 16 home runs, and a 1.185 OPS in 45 games against the Cardinals. Howard is only 2-for-9 in his career against Carpenter, but one of those hits is a home run. In his career in the postseason, Howard has a .279 average and .915 OPS. The Big Piece will play a big role in what the Phillies offense does. Because of his success against the Cardinals, he is expected to shine in this series.
The Cardinals have their own well-established slugger. Albert Pujols had a “down year,” but batting .299 with 99 RBI is a career year for most players. Pujols has also had postseason success, hitting .322 with 13 home runs. Against Cliff Lee, Pujols is only 1-for-8 in his career.
Matt Holliday is once again out of the lineup for St. Louis with a hand injury.
Jimmy Rollins talks to the media prior to Game 2 and I asked him about the fans and what sort of role they play in helping the team:
Your gameday beer: Since it is the beginning of October, today’s gameday beer will be Sam Adams Octoberfest. “Here’s to a lengthy Octoberfest for the Phillies. Gan bei,” Michael Baumann said.