Blog Entry

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 9:34 pm
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By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals were left for dead in late August, trailing in both the NL Central and the wild card by more than 10 games. There was even talk they'd trade All-Star right fielder Lance Berkman once he cleared waivers. Instead, they held onto him and went 23-9 in the last five weeks of the season. A season-ending 8-0 win over the Astros propelled the Cardinals into the playoffs as the Braves lost in 13 innings. As their prize, the Cards now get to face the best team in baseball in a short series. The Phillies won the NL East for the fifth straight season and ended up with a franchise-record 102 wins. The Cardinals recently took three of four in Philly, but the Phillies weren't really playing for anything. What happens this time around? We'll soon find out. 

TEAM INFORMATION

Philadelphia Phillies (host games 1, 2, 5)
102-60, NL East champions
Manager: Charlie Manuel
Team batting statistics: .253 batting average (9th in NL), .323 on-base percentage (5th), .395 slugging percentage (7th)
Team pitching statistics: 3.02 ERA (1st), 1.167 WHIP (1st), 3.22 K/BB (1st)
Star player: SP Roy Halladay -- 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 1.040 WHIP, 220 K in 233 2/3 innings

St. Louis Cardinals (host games 3, 4)
90-72, NL wild card champions
Manager: Tony La Russa
Team batting statistics: .273 batting average (1st in NL), .341 on-base percentage (1st), .425 slugging percentage (1st)
Team pitching statistics: 3.79 ERA (8th), 1.306 WHIP (10th), 2.45 K/BB (5th)
Star player: 1B Albert Pujols -- .305/.349/.465, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 29 2B, 9 SB

SCHEDULE (Click here to view the entire postseason schedule)  

Full Playoff Coverage
Game 1: STL @ PHI, Oct. 1, 5:07 p.m. ET. Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.39) vs. Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35)
Game 2: STL @ PHI, Oct. 2, 8:07 p.m. ET. Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45) vs. Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40)
Game 3: PHI @ STL, Oct. 4 Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79) vs. Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56)
Game 4: PHI @ STL, Oct. 5* Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79)
Game 5: STL @ PHI, Oct. 7* TBD vs. Halladay
* if necessary

TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)

Catcher
Philadelphia: Carlos Ruiz
St. Louis: Yadier Molina

This is one of the best match ups in all of the playoffs, you have two of the best defensive catchers in the game and two of the best handlers of a pitching staff. Catcher is probably the toughest position in baseball and the toughest to judge. However, these two are at the very top when they have the gear on. 

Advantage: Tie

First base
Philadelphia: Ryan Howard
St. Louis: Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols struggled at the beginning of the year, but still finished with 37 homers and a .305 batting average. With the game on the line, who else in baseball would you rather have on the line? Nobody, that's who.

Advantage: Cardinals

Second base
Philadelphia: Chase Utley
St. Louis: Skip Schumaker

Even hobbled, Chase Utley is still one of the best second basemen in the game.

Advantage: Phillies

Shortstop
Philadelphia: Jimmy Rollins
St. Louis: Rafael Furcal

Furcal is struggling with a hamstring injury, and that really hurts the Cardinals because so much of his game is based on his speed. And when you start dealing with a speedster's wheels, they lose a lot of their effectiveness.

Advantage: Phillies

Third base
Philadelphia: Placido Polanco
St. Louis: David Freese

Casual fans may not know much about David Freese, but when healthy, the Cardinals' third baseman is an impressive hitter -- and right now, he's apparently healthy. Freese, 28, had a hit in eight of the team's last nine games.

Advantage: Cardinals

Left field
Philadelphia: Raul Ibanez
St. Louis: Matt Holliday

Holliday's status is unclear, but he is on the postseason roster. If Holliday plays, he's one of the game's best. That said, his palm is an issue. He took batting practice on Friday. Even at 80 percent, Holliday is a heck of a player.

Advantage: Cardinals

Center field
Philadelphia: Shane Victorino
St. Louis: John Jay

Jay has played well as the team's center fielder, hitting .297/.344/.424, but Victorino is having a great season. Not only did he hit 17 homers, he's also played Gold Glove defense.

Advantage: Phillies

Right field
Philadelphia: Hunter Pence
St. Louis: Lance Berkman

The former teammates provide perhaps the most intriguing matchup. Both have been the faces of the Astros franchise and are now beloved in their new homes. Berkman's wrapped up the Comeback Player of the Year award, hitting .301/.412/.547 with 31 homers and 94 RBI. Pence was an All-Star in Houston and even better in Philadelphia, where he's hit .324/.394/.560 with 11 homers in 54 games. Pence isn't a Gold Glover, but he's Willie Mays compared to Berkman in the outfield.

Advantage: Tie

Starting pitching
Philadelphia: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt
St. Louis:Kyle Lohse, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Edwin Jackson

You may have noticed that the Phillies have a pretty good rotation.

Advantage: Phillies

Relief pitching
Philadelphia closer: Ryan Madson
St. Louis closer: Jason Motte

The Cardinals' bullpen has been bolstered by mid-season additions of Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel (the deal also allowed them to move Kyle McClellan back to the bullpen with the addition of Jackson). Since the trade, the Cardinals have the third-best bullpen ERA (2.86) in baseball. But the Phillies' pen has been stout all year long, while the Cardinals still have a bit of uneasiness when Tony La Russa makes one of his many visits to the mound.

Advantage: Phillies

Total advantage: Phillies (5), Cardinals (3), tie (2)

PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)

CBS Experts
Evan Brunell: Phillies in 3
Gregg Doyel: Phillies in 3
Danny Knobler: Phillies in 5
Scott Miller: Phillies in 4
Trent Rosecrans: Phillies in 4
Matt Snyder: Phillies in 3

Trent's take: The Cardinals have the best offense in the National League and the Phillies the best pitching, so it will be interesting to see strength-on-strength, even though I'm always inclined to take pitching in that situation. The Phillies are the favorites, there's no doubt about that. The fact that Furcal and Holliday are hobbled by injuries doesn't hurt that idea, either. La Russa raised some eyebrows when he switched up his rotation on Friday, announcing he'd pitch Carpenter on three-day's rest in Game 2. If the Cardinals can take one of the first two games of the series, the pitching difference isn't as big in the second two games, which could make the series interesting. But there are still "ifs" to get to that point.

More Phillies-Cardinals NLDS coverage

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:55 am
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peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 2:26 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:59 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

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Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 3:31 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

At the plate it might be a tie, between Jay and Victorino, but in the field no one this year matches Victorino.  Nobody.  He is simply the best defensive center fielder in the game right now. 

And 5th in voting MVP for Victorino?  Very plausible if you go beyond the hitting statistics.  What many people forget to do is to look at the overall game of a player, not just in one half inning of play.  Remember, position players only come up to bat once every other inning, while they play the field at least 9 innings every game they play (unless injured or taken out because the team is so far ahead).  Victorino's defense is 2nd to none, and ahead of everybody else.



Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 3:27 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

Howard isn't Pujols because Pujols is an all-around great hitter while Howard is just a great slugger.  When it comes to putting the team on their backs through the use of the bat, both players produce, plain and simple.  They just do it in different ways, and I would take Pujols all-around hitting at the plate over Howard any day, but there is nothing wrong with having Howard and his power because few can produce like he can (Pujols being one of them).



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 3:20 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

If you think Howard is even close to Pujols even when fully healthy you must be insane.Howard is not even in the same ballpark talent wise with Pujols.Heck Howard would probably kill the put up the all around numbers Pujols does.As far as the series goes Phillies are the obvious favorite.



Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:58 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

Not to be ticky-tack, but Pujols hit .299, not .305.  It does have historical significance, he also was at 99 rbi's.  He may have been hot down the stretch but not the last week of the season when everything was on the line.  The advantage goes to an even gimpy but well-rested Howard.



Since: Apr 11, 2011
Posted on: October 1, 2011 1:17 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

@ Coach_52

I'd also say that centerfield is about a tie because John Jay is having an excellent season and almost nobody outside of St. Louis noticed.
SHANE VICTORINO


<abbr title="Games">G &
nbsp;  
AB   R    H  2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA   OBP  SLG

132  519 95 145 27 16  17  61 19 3   55  63  .279  .355 .491

JON JAY

159  455 56 135 24  2   10  37  6  7   28  81 . 297  .344 .424


If you still think Jon Jay is a tie or better than Victorino you must be on drugs. Jayson Stark from ESPN has Victorino # 5 in MVP for the NL...</abbr>

It's a tie right now- I don't care what Stark says.  God forbid anyone disagrees with a few writers, especially those know- it- alls on ESPN.
I never implied that Jay was a better player than Victorino, but right now it's a tie. It's my opinion if you can handle it.



Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: October 1, 2011 12:49 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

@ Coach_52

I'd also say that centerfield is about a tie because John Jay is having an excellent season and almost nobody outside of St. Louis noticed.
 SHANE VICTORINO


<abbr title="Games">G     
AB   R    H  2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA   OBP  SLG

132  519 95 145 27 16  17  61 19 3   55  63  .279  .355 .491

JON JAY

159  455 56 135 24  2   10  37  6  7   28  81 . 297  .344 .424


If you still think Jon Jay is a tie or better than Victorino you must be on drugs. Jayson Stark from ESPN has Victorino # 5 in MVP for the NL...</abbr>



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 12:34 pm
 

2011 NLDS matchup: Phillies vs. Cardinals

Gotta love Roy Halladay during press conference with his simple remark. "Ive come to bury Caesar not praise him" bwaaa thats just too badass. People who dont accept Roy Halladay as THE best pitcher in baseball are jaded. Who is then? Verlander? This is his first great season in sll the years he has been in.  i think not he outdid himself and had a Roy Halladay year, Kershaw? He is a great young pitcher and will be the next Roy but I think not he outdid himself and had a Roy Halladay year. Roy well he just had another Roy Halladay year! Ask Cliff Lee who the best is!


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