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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Phillies Will Need a Doc to Survive NLDS

          Philadelphia just went from over confidence to panic.

          A double, a triple, and a single, to lead-off Game 4 of their National League Division Series with St. Louis got the Phillies off to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning tonight. But it didn’t hold up as the Cardinals forced a deciding Game 5. A Ryan Howard strikeout and Hunter Pence caught stealing neutralized a bigger inning. The called third strike was questionable and the call at second was wrong.

          Shane Victorino’s throwing error – he actually fell – gave the Cardinals a run in the bottom of the inning.

          David Freese knocked in 2 runs with a double in the 4th and two more with a home run in the 6th to give the Cardinals what was an insurmountable 5-2 lead. Edwin Jackson, a pitcher many Phillies fans were confident the team would hit, settled down and gave up just one more run in the six innings he pitched.

          Michael Martinez scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 8th to make the score 5-3, but that’s where the scoring ended.

          Roy Oswalt wasn’t especially sharp tonight, but Howard’s 0-4 with 3 strikeouts was especially brutal. In fact, Howard went 0 for 8 with 5 Ks in his hometown of St. Louis for the series.

          Chase Utley’s atrocious base running in the top of the 6th – inexplicably trying to go first to third on a grounder to shortstop – overshadowed a 2 for 3 night with an RBI. The game was 3-2 and Utley, who was running on the play, would have been on second with one out. The Cardinals might have walked Howard, and who knows what happens. Instead, Pence was on first and the inning went nowhere.

          Rollins finished 2 for 4 with a run scored.

          Suddenly, the Phillies have been pushed to the brink of elimination in the opening round of the playoffs.

          There will be a doctor in the house Friday night as Roy “Doc” Halladay takes the mound for the Phillies. With Chris Carpenter opposing him, I’m thinking the Phils will need his best to avoid a very long winter.

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