Thursday, October 6, 2011

And then there was One. Phils vs. Cardinals Game Five

No one donning a Phillies uniform wanted it to come to this. Not the players. Not the coaches. Certainly not the fans.

The best team in Phillies history needs to win on Friday, or else they become one of, if not the most disappointing team in Philadelphia history.

Yes, the Phillies have Roy Halladay on the mound. But Chris Carpenter is damn good. Don't judge him on his Game Two performance. He'd never pitched on short rest before, and it clearly affected him. And Halladay has taken some time to settle down of late, including Game One when he allowed a three-run shot to Lance Berkman in the first inning before retiring 23 of the last 24 batters he faced.

The bats need to come alive, plain and simple. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have been great at the plate; although Utley made a bonehead play on the bases yesterday. Ryan Howard, after a big go ahead three-run homer in Game One and two more RBI in Game Two looks really lost at the plate. He's coming up, time and time again in a big spot with runners aboard and not coming through. Shane Victorino is also really scuffling, which may prompt Charlie Manuel to put Hunter Pence back into the five hole to give Howard some protection. The bottom of the lineup, comprised of Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz is doing next to nothing.

This could be Rollins' last game in a Phillies uniform. It could also be Albert Pujols' last as a Cardinal.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day leading up to Game Five, and a loss with prompt an even longer off-season filled with questions.

Three of the four Division Series are going to a best-of-five, and while it's very dramatic, Major League Baseball needs to seriously consider changing it to a best-of-seven like the Championship Series and World Series. Too many fluky things can happen in baseball, and the best team in baseball all season could be bounced on a fluke. It's time to be nervous, but it's also time to have faith in the great Doc.

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