Blog Entry

Grading the Cardinals-Phillies NLDS

Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:14 am
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:12 am

By Matt Snyder

The Game 5 pitcher's duel. We talked about how great the CC Sabathia-Justin Verlander pitching matchup would be over in the ALDS for what seemed like weeks. Well, the Game 1 attempt was screwed up by weather. In Game 3, Verlander was dominant in several stretches, but still allowed four runs while Sabathia was a disppointment. So we never really got the pure baseball fan's dream of a 1-0 game where two pitchers absolutely stifle the opposition. Thank you, Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter. Friday night's Game 5 in Philly was pure bliss to those who love old-school pitcher's duels. Halladay allowed a triple and then a double to start the game, falling behind 1-0. After that? The two pitchers combined to throw 17 shutout innings, allowing only seven hits and one walk, while striking out 10. Now that is a pitcher's duel. Carpenter was the star, but they both put on a show.

Cardinals' offense. They were the best offense in the NL in 2011, so scoring 19 runs in a five-game series is not "A" material, but c'mon. These guys were facing the Phillies' pitching staff, the best staff in the NL during the season. Gathering 10 doubles, three triples and two home runs is pretty impressive. They also battled back from a four-run deficit against Cliff Lee in Game 2 and got some pretty timely hits from David Freese in Game 4. And remember, Matt Holliday was banged up. So while we can't exactly say they came through with flying colors and carried the team -- this series was certainly a team effort -- the offense was good enough to earn a solid "B."

The Phillies' vaunted rotation. Roy Halladay was unhittable if it wasn't the first inning. Cole Hamels had a good, albeit inefficient outing. So we aren't really looking at those two. But Cliff Lee couldn't make a 4-0 lead stand up in Game 2, when the Phillies could have essentially put the Cardinals away. He gave up 12 hits and five runs in six innings. And Roy Oswalt was bad in Game 4, when the Phillies could have eliminated the Cardinals. The offense was a major reason the Phillies lost this series, but they've been overcoming a mediocre offense all season -- ranking seventh in runs scored and still winning 102 regular-season games. This team was built around its starting pitching, and if the starters all lived up to their billing as aces, the Phillies would have swept. Two of the four didn't get it done, so that's a "C," and the Phillies are done for the season.

The squirrel overkill. Why do we have to take mildly amusing events and run them into the ground? When the squirrel ran on the field during play in Game 3, it was funny. When a squirrel -- maybe even the same one -- ran toward home plate during an Oswalt pitch in Game 4, it was hilarious. The @BuschSquirrel Twitter account was a nice short-term touch, I guess. But then we were bombarded with two days of squirrel jokes and TBS even had a feature once Game 5 started about squirrels on the field in Philadelphia. And they acted like it was a coincidence, no less. Yeah, I bet it was.

Ryan Howard's disappearing act. Note: This has nothing to do with his injury on the final play of the game. As an aside here, people often try to make accusations as to who we favor, etc. I can tell what I'm rooting for in these playoffs. Four things, in no particular order, are what I want out of every game: 1. Well played, close game; 2. Good weather; 3. No umpiring mistakes altering the outcome of the game; 4. No major injuries. In Game 5 of the NLDS between the Phillies and the Cards, I got what I wanted from Points 1-3. But point four I didn't. And that sucks. But it doesn't take away from the fact that Howard had a huge start to the series and then just completely disappeared. After a two-RBI single in the first inning of Game 2, Howard had six RBI already. He had 15 plate appearances the rest of the series and was 0-for-15 with six strikeouts. That doesn't cut it for the highly-compensated cleanup hitter. And if he did come through with possibly even one big hit, the Phillies might be headed to the NLCS right now.

Video: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is angry about his club being eliminated.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 5:55 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 9:49 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:58 pm

Grading the Cardinals-Phillies NLDS

There will be never a much better way of measuring how much of an person is than he is doing any time he can be confidently absolutely free purchase.

Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:11 am

Grading the Cardinals-Phillies NLDS

F - Phillies idiot manager.  Starting Oswalt over Halladay on short rest, letting everyone and their brother swing on 3-0 counts, managing a team with poor fundamentals.  Is Elmer Fudd so dim he doesnt realize other then Howard this team has no power? Oswalt for his crappy tenure in Philadelphia, whining about retirement until his agent reminded him of the 2 million dollar buy out he would be giving up.  Polanco and Ruiz.  Did these two even play?

E - Utley and his non-existant power stroke.  Another guy who is living off his seasons of 3 to 6 years ago.  Injuries have crippled him to the point where even our park cant inflate his HR totals, and check out the shrinking batting average.  He's at the point where he's leaning into pitches to get on base.  Ibanez...dont let the door hit you.  Lee, guy got brought in for the postseason and cant hold a 4 run lead.  Between game 5 of the WS and game 2 I think it's apparent any playoff magic he had is long since gone.

D - Announcers, sports writers and homer fans.  It's one thing to be a kiss up or be a homer its another to ignore reality.  Amaro, great job on Halladay and to a lesser extent Lee, but the hitting issues are so glaring now his complete lack of addressing them the last 3 years is glarling obvious.  Signing Utley and Howard long term are looking like really bad moves.

C - Howard.  Despite disappearing in the last 3 games he still managed 6 RBIs in a 5 game series.  Sure he cant hit good pitching and if you based the grade on what he's getting paid it would be a D, but he still drove in almost 30% of the runs the Phillies scored in the five games.

B -  Hamels, Rollins and Victorino.  I'm concerned that this was the best Rollins could do in a contract year, and that he still thinks he's a HR hitter.  Sure he still has a great glove, but if we could find someone who knew how to hit leadoff, work a count, lay down a bunt to get on base I let him walk in a second. 

A - Halladay...4 runs in 16 innings isnt exactly legendary, but I will take that every postseason from the most consistent pitcher in baseball.  Only isssue I have is he didnt demand the ball in game 4.  Everone could see Oswalt was done.

Too many aging prima donnas on this team.  They need some guys who will work a count and do the little things they need to win.  Finally, they need a guy who wants to win now to manage this team. 


Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: October 8, 2011 2:11 am

Grading the Cardinals-Phillies NLDS

What an awesome game. Chris Carpenter (one of my favorite pitchers) vs. Roy Halladay (arguably the best pitcher since Roger Clemens) in a incredible 1-0 pitching duel. You could see from the start Carp really sharp and his pitches were poppin. Roy Halladay minus the first inning was well Roy Halladay. I don't think people should bash the Phillies hitting so much as Carpenter has the ability to shut out any team when he is on. A 3 hitter complete game shut out against the feared Roy Halladay to stave off elimination, wow I'd say he is underrated. The game was exciting all the way to the last out. Even though my team(Yankees) is out I still watch all the playoff games I can. Congrats to the Cardinals and best wishes a quick recovery to Ryan Howard. Now on to the Championship Series! I love baseball!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or