Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:45 am

Eye on Photos: Cardinals eliminate Phillies

By Matt Snyder

The St. Louis Cardinals took down the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, three games to two. Here's the series in pictures.

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

With the bases loaded and one out, Albert Pujols loomed on deck. An unassisted double play by Chase Utley got the Phillies out of the jam and helped them take Game 3. (Getty Images)
Skip Schumaker pleads his case on a catch. His side of the argument eventually won, as the umpires got together and changed the call. (Getty Images)
The big blow of Game 3 was Ben Francisco's pinch-hit, three-run homer. (Getty Images)
Albert Pujols swipes third base in the first inning of Game 3. (Getty Images)
Great view of the outfield scoreboard and the Arch in the background. (Getty Images)
Cliff Lee, Ace No. 2 for the Phillies, faltered in Game 2. (Getty Images)
Huge collision at home plate, which seem to be happening quite often in these playoffs. (Getty Images)
Tony La Russa hated the stike zone in Game 2, and he wasn't alone -- Yadier Molina shares his frustration. (Getty Images)
The big blow in Game 1 was Ryan Howard's towering home run. (Getty Images)
The Cardinals gained an early advantage in Game 1 with a three-run shot by Lance Berkman. (Getty Images)
Shane Victorino committed his first error of the season in Game 4 and it was a bit funny. (Getty Images)
Matt Holliday slides into home on David Freese's go-ahead, two-RBI double in Game 4. (Getty Images)
Chase Utley took a huge gamble when he headed to third base in Game 4, and Pujols nailed him. (Getty Images)
Rafael Furcal tripled to lead off the game in Game 5, and he was driven home on a Skip Schumaker double. That would be all the Cardinals needed. (Getty Images)
Yadier Molina threw Chase Utley out on a pivotal stolen base attempt. Had Utley made it, he would have been on second base with only one out and the Phillies trailing by one. (Getty Images)
Unfortunately, the series ended on a somber note, as Ryan Howard may have been seriously injured. (Getty Images)
Chris Carpenter decided to go all Rock Star after throwing a three-hit shutout to get the Cardinals into the NLCS. (Getty Images)
Being on the DL doesn't mean Adam Wainwright, left, misses out on the celebration. (Getty Images)

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

Grading the Cardinals-Phillies NLDS

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.

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Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:11 am

Howard suffers Achilles injury on final out

Ryan Howard

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The visual told you all you needed to know, as the Cardinals celebrated their 1-0 victory over the Phillies, the man who made the last out sat on the ground in apparent pain. And it wasn't just the pain of an ended season, it was real, physical pain as Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard suffered an Achilles injury after ground out to Ryan Theriot to end the game.

Howard told reporters after the game he fears he tore the tendon (via Matt Gelb of the Phialdelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb on Twitter). 

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"It felt like my bat came around and hit the back of my Achelles," Howard told reporters after the game. "I tried to run and felt a pop and it felt like the whole thing was on fire. I tried to run, but felt like I was litterally on a flat tire. I tried to get up, but I couldn't go." 

It was a rough ending for a rough night for Howard, who went 0 for 4 on the night. However, he wasn't alone as the first four batters in the Phillies lineup went just 1 for 15 in the game and the bottom four went 0 for 12 against Chris Carpenter.  Howard not only went hitless on Friday, he finished the series with just two hits and none in the last three games of the series.

Howard, a St. Louis native, is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday. A ruptured Achilles could mean a lengthy rehab that would cut into a good part of the 2012 season. The 31-year-old is under contract through the 2016 season with $125 million left on his contract.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 2:03 am

Cardinals win pitcher's duel, advance to NLCS

By Matt Snyder

Hero: There's no question here. Chris Carpenter went out and dominated with no margin for error. He was spotted a one-run lead in the first inning, and then fellow ace Roy Halladay locked in for the Phillies. Carpenter himself probably knew he was going to have to throw a shutout. And he did.

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Goat: The Phillies offense. Yes, Carpenter was masterful and, yes, Roy Halladay gave up two extra-base hits to start the game. But are we really going to blame Halladay for allowing one run to the best offense in baseball? On the flip-side, the Phillies mustered just three hits and four base-runners -- the fourth was on a Yadier Molina error. They've got to give their pitching staff more help than that.

Turning point: We're going to have to be flexible with the term here, because there wasn't really a big turning point. The Cardinals had a 1-0 lead after two batters and held it the entire game. So we'll go with this: With runners on first and third in the in the bottom of the fourth inning, Raul Ibanez sent a Carpenter pitch deep to right field. It nestled into Lance Berkman's glove on the warning track and the only real threat to the Phillies scoring multiple runs was averted.

It was over when ... Ryan Howard grounded out to end the game. He's liable to hit a home run at any second, so the 1-0 lead was never safe until the game was finally over.

Next: The Cardinals head to Milwaukee to face off against the Brewers -- in what has become a pretty heated rivalry. Now we'll get to see it for seven games. Will there be any T-Plush vs. Chris Carpenter issues? What happens if the Brewers pitch Albert Pujols inside and Tony La Russa has a pitcher dot Ryan Braun? The list could go on and on, but there's no need to get into all that right now. It's gonna be incredible entertainment, but this night is the time for both NL Central teams in the playoffs to celebrate their victories. They can look ahead Saturday.

Video: Carpenter, La Russa speak about the victory.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:47 pm

Halladay struggles before locking in ... again

By Matt Snyder

What is it with Roy Halladay and the first inning? Last time he took the hill was Game 1 of the NLDS, and he allowed a three-run home run to Lance Berkman in the first inning before turning into an absolute maestro. Now, in the first inning of Friday's do-or-die Game 5, Halladay gave up a triple and double to start the game. Since then? A catcher's interference and seeing-eye, ground-ball single. And 12 outs.

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During the regular season, Halladay's first inning ERA was 3.66. In no other inning until the ninth inning did he have an ERA of worse than 2.81, and he sported an ERA of less than 1.70 in the second, third, sixth and eighth innings.

Should the Phillies advance, that's a situation worth following -- that the Brewers better get him in the first, lest he shut them down the rest of the way. But as things stood through four innings Friday night, the Phillies hadn't been able to score a run off Chris Carpenter, as the score was 1-0 Cardinals.

Things are far from over, though, so remember to ... Click here to follow the action live on CBSSports.com's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 5:13 pm

NLDS Game 5: Halladay, Carpenter square off

Halladay, Carpenter

By Evan Brunell

Cardinals vs. Phillies, Citizen's Bank Ballpark, 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS

When the playoffs began, no one gave the Cardinals a shot. Really, no one.

Not one of CBSSports.com's baseball experts picked St. Louis to advance, and only Danny Knobler thought it would go the maximum five games. And yet, here we are, Game 5 in Philadelphia with Roy Halladay going up against Chris Carpenter. The Phillies are still the more vaunted team but when it comes down to one game, anything goes. The Cardinals already took a game in Philadelphia, so they don't have the bugaboo of having to play in Citizen's Bank Park. Add in a rather convincing win on Wednesday, in which Philadelphia didn't score after the first, and one has to think the Cardinals just might have the upper hand heading into Thursday's game.

One problem with that, though: Halladay. The right-hander may or may not win the NL Cy Young Award this year if Clayton Kershaw has anything to say about it, but either way, he had a Cy Young-caliber season and already has two of these trophies to his name. On paper, it's a drastic mismatch against a former Cy Young Award winner himself in Carp, who took home the award in 2005. Both Carpenter and Halladay are ex-Blue Jays teammates, which makes the matchup that much sweeter.


Cardinals Phillies
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Rafael Furcal SS 1 Jimmy Rollins SS
2 Skip Schumaker CF 2 Chase Utley 2B
3 Albert Pujols 1B 3 Hunter Pence RF
4 Lance Berkman RF 4 Ryan Howard 1B
5 Matt Holliday LF 5 Shane Victorino CF
6 Yadier Molina C 6 Raul Ibanez LF
7 David Freese 3B 7 Placido Polanco 3B
8 Nick Punto 2B 8 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Chris Carpenter RHP 9 Roy Halladay RHP


Carpenter vs. Phillies: Carpenter blew up against Philadelphia in Game 2, going on three-days rest although St. Louis eventually won the game. Going just three innings, Carpenter coughed up four runs on five hits and also walked an uncharacteristic, struggling with the strike zone. That was the game Tony La Russa complained on national TV about the zone despite no evidence toward the umpire displaying prejudice to St. Louis. The extra day of rest could help Carpenter return to his dominating ways, as he gave up just one run in two starts against the Phillies in the regular season. Chase Utley is 7 for 15 in his career against Carpenter, and Ryan Howard is 3-for-11 with a home run.

Halladay vs. Cardinals: Halladay coughed up three runs in Game 1, all coming in the first inning on a three-run home run by Lance Berkman -- the second straight time Berkman homered off Halladay in the first inning. In the regular season, Halladay registered a 3.21 ERA, losing in September after surrendering four runs.  Including Game 1, Albert Pujols is just 3 for 14. Skip Schumaker, who collected two hits in Game 1, has a .364 batting average against the right-hander in 12 plate appearances. 

 NLDS Game 5


  • Matt Holliday finally made his first start of the postseason in Game 4 and is expected to start again in Game 5.
  • Cliff Lee volunteered to be available in the bullpen if needed, but its doubtful Charlie Manuel will use him. The Phils have a capable bullpen, but never say never -- it is Lee's throw day, so it could happen.
  • The Cardinals and Phillies will be playing the second Game 5 of the LDS, with the Yankees and Tigers playing the first on Thursday night. Arizona and Milwaukee are also slated to play a Game 5 later Friday, giving the 2011 season three Game 5s in the LDS. From 2004 to 2011, there were just two Game 5s total.
  • The forecast is currently projected to be 51 degrees at nighttime with no chance of rain and minimal wind.

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 3:53 pm

Former teammates meet in NLDS Game 5

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter were supposed to be pitching in the playoffs -- but for the Toronto Blue Jays. Both pitchers were drafted and developed by the Blue Jays and spent five years in Toronto as teammates. 

Carpenter, the team's first-round pick in 1993, was released by the Blue Jays after the 2002 season when he went 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA in just 13 starts because of a shoulder injury that required surgery on his labrum. He signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals and missed all of 2003, but returned in 2004 and won 15 games in his first season back and the Cy Young in his second.

Halladay, on the other hand, did develop into the ace the Blue Jays expected when they drafted him in the first round of the 1995 draft. However, as the years went on, the Blue Jays didn't sniff the playoffs and could no longer afford their ace, trading him to Philadelphia before the 2010 season.

The two were teammates from 1998-2002 and went a combined 46-43 with a 4.80 ERA -- hardly the thing deciding playoff "dream matchups" are made of.

"I really did feel like we kind of learned together, more mentally how to approach the game and how to play the game, and it was a lot of fun. I remember a couple times going to dinner and talking about how we were on a roll at the time, and we really felt like that we had kind of both turned the corner," Halladay said in a news conference on Thursday. "You know, it was a great experience for me going through that with a guy that was in a similar situation. We really felt like we kind of came up together and learned together, and you know, to be able to do that with another guy, I think, helps you not only learn from him but you see things that he goes through, and you pick up on that. It was just a great experience to go through that together, to learn together, to get better together, and ultimately coming out of there feeling like the time that we spent had really benefitted both of us."

Neither was an immediate success in the majors. Halladay had a 10.64 ERA in 13 starts for the Blue Jays as a 23-year-old in 2000, while Carpenter had a 49-50 record with a 4.83 ERA in his six seasons in Toronto. 

Friday the two will face off in Game 5 of the National League division series, the winner heads to the NLCS and the loser gets ready for 2012. While Carpenter has been a Cardinal since leaving Toronto and Halladay made his move to the National League before last season, this will be the first time the two have started against each other.

"You know, we've talked about this scenario. I think it's something we're both looking forward to," Halladay said. "It's going to be a challenge. Going in, you know what you're up against, you know how good they are. You know how good Chris is. And I think everybody expects that he's going to obviously be a lot better than his last time out. We have our work cut out for us, but yeah, I'm looking forward to it, and I know Chris is, also. You know, it's fun. We haven't got a chance to pitch against each other, and if you're going to do it for the first time, might as well be now."

Halladay started Game 1 of the series, getting roughed up in the first inning, allowing three runs, but cruising from then on. Carpenter, starting on short rest, gave up four runs in the first two innings of his start in Game 2 and being lifted after the third, having given up four earned runs on five hits, throwing 64 strikes. He'll be back on regular rest for Friday's deciding game, making it the matchup everyone's looked for ward to seeing. 

"And I look at tomorrow's game as, yeah, we've got two great pitchers pitching against one another and there's two good teams, and I look at that as that's kind of what it should be," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said at a news conference. "That's what playoff baseball should be. And that's where it's at."

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Phillies-Cardinals series | 2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:11 pm

Video: Manuel takes aim at Busch squirrel

By C. Trent Rosecrans

This isn't the NBA, so there's unlikely to be any guns in the Phillies clubhouse -- and that's a good thing for the Busch Stadium squirrel.

The squirrel ran across home plate as Roy Oswalt threw a pitch in the fifth inning, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about it after the game:

The squirrel made his first appearance in Game 3, but that was just running across the field and then down the third-base line. On Wednesday, he made sure to be seen. And like just about everyone else, the squirrel has his own Twitter account -- and 5,146 followers as of 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The squirrel isn't concerned about Manuel, or at least he's not according to his Twitter.

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Phillies-Cardinals series | 2011 playoffs

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