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Your Guide To The NLDS

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nlds Your Guide To The NLDS

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – A look at the best-of-five National League division series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies:

Schedule: (All times Eastern)

Game 1: Phillies 11, Cardinals 6, at Philadelphia
Game 2: Cardinals 5, Phillies 4, at Philadelphia
Game 3: Phillies 3, Cardinals 2 at St. Louis
Game 4: Cardinals 5, Phillies 3 at St. Louis
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 7, at Philadelphia (8:30 PM)
(All games on TBS)

Season Series: Cardinals won 6-3.

Projected Lineups:

Cardinals: SS Rafael Furcal (.231, 8 HRs, 28 RBIs, 9 SBs with Dodgers and Cardinals) or Nick Punto (.278, 1, 20), CF Jon Jay (.297, 10, 37), 1B Albert Pujols (.299, 37, 99, 105 runs), LF Matt Holliday (.296, 22, 75, .388 OBP) or Allen Craig (.315, 11, 40 in 200 ABs), RF Lance Berkman (.301, 31, 94, .412 OBP), 3B David Freese (.297, 10, 55), C Yadier Molina (.305, 14, 65, both career bests), 2B Skip Schumaker (.283, 2, 38).

Phillies: SS Jimmy Rollins (.268, 16, 63, 30 SBs, 87 runs), 2B Chase Utley (.259, 11, 44), RF Hunter Pence (.314, 22, 97 with Astros and Phillies), 1B Ryan Howard (.253, 33, 116), CF Shane Victorino (.279, 17, 61, 16 3Bs, 19 SBs), LF Raul Ibanez (.245, 20, 84), 3B Placido Polanco (.277, 5, 50), C Carlos Ruiz (.283, 6, 40).

Projected Rotations:

Cardinals: RH Kyle Lohse (14-8, 3.49 ERA, 1 shutout), LH Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56, 2 shutouts), RH Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.49, 237 1-3 innings, 191 Ks, 4 CGs, 2 shutouts), RH Edwin Jackson (5-2, 3.58 since trade deadline deal), RH Jake Westbrook (12-9, 4.66, 1.57 WHIP worst on staff).

Phillies: RH Roy Halladay (19-6, 2.35, 8 CGs), LH Cliff Lee (17-9, 2.40, 6 shutouts), LH Cole Hamels (14-9, 2.79), RH Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69).

Relievers:

Cardinals: RH Jason Motte (5-2, 2.25, 9/13 saves, 78 games), RH Fernando Salas (5-6, 2.28, 24/30 saves), RH Kyle McClellan (12-7, 4.19, 43 games, 17 starts), RH Octavio Dotel (3-3, 3.28, 2 saves), LH Marc Rzepczynski (0-3, 3.97), LH Arthur Rhodes (0-1, 4.15), RH Mitchell Boggs (2-3, 3.56, 4 saves), RH Eduardo Sanchez (3-1, 1.80, 5 saves).

Phillies: RH Ryan Madson (4-2, 2.37, 32/34 saves, 62 games, 54 hits, 60 2-3 IP), LH Antonio Bastardo (6-1, 2.64, 8 saves), RH Brad Lidge (0-2, 1.40, 25 games), RH Michael Stutes (6-2, 3.63), RH Vance Worley (11-3, 3.01 in 25 games, 21 starts), RH Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.22 in 34 games, 15 starts), RH David Herndon (1-4, 3.32) or RH Joe Blanton (1-2, 5.01 in 11 games, 8 starts).

Matchups:

This is the first time these two century-old National League franchises have met in the postseason. Several notable players have worn both uniforms, including Steve Carlton, Tim McCarver and Lonnie Smith. The trade of Curt Flood from St. Louis to Philadelphia led to him challenging baseball’s reserve clause. … Holliday (hand) and Furcal (hamstring) are questionable for Game 1. Likely replacements would be Craig in LF and Punto at SS. … The Cardinals took the season series with victories over Lee, Hamels and Halladay. They won three of four in mid-September at Philadelphia and swept a two-game series in St. Louis in May. It was their highest victory total vs. the Phillies since going 7-2 in 2000. … Heading into free agency for the first time, Pujols just missed extending his career streak of 10 consecutive seasons with 30 homers, 100 RBIs and a .300 batting average. … Deadline deals for Furcal and Jackson paid off, although Furcal struggled defensively down the stretch, committing five errors in a six-game stretch in the waning days. … The hard-throwing Motte was successful overall in an audition for the 2012 closer job after developing a reliable off-speed pitch to complement his high-90s (mph) fastball. … The Cardinals overcame adversity down the stretch. Motte was wild as they blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning against the Mets in game No. 156. And in game No. 157, McClellan gave up a tiebreaking homer in the eighth. … St. Louis hit into an NL-record 169 double plays, breaking the mark set by the 1958 Cardinals, but compensated with a .273 average that is the best among playoff teams. The Cardinals also led the NL with 4.68 runs per game and a .288 average with runners in scoring position. … The Phillies clinched their fifth straight division title with a victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 17, then lost the next two games to finish the season series. … The Phillies batted just .233 with 32 runs in nine games against St. Louis. … Pence hit .349 (22 for 63) vs. the Cards. … Howard, a Missouri native, is a lifetime .368 hitter with 9 HRs and 35 RBIs in 26 games at Busch Stadium. … Rollins hit .289 (11 for 39) against the Cards this season. … Lee walked a career-worst six batters in a 3-1 loss at St. Louis in May. … The Phillies have struggled against Garcia, scoring one run off the lefty in 15 innings over the last two seasons.

Big Picture:

Cardinals: A resilient team that was written off after 20-game winner Adam Wainwright underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in February and all but finished off on Aug. 25, when it was 10 ½ games behind the Braves for the wild card. The low point was getting swept in a three-game series against the Dodgers at home. At one point, manager Tony La Russa worried that his club might finish below .500. Having climbed a nearly impossible peak with the help of Atlanta’s collapse, the Cardinals (90-72) should certainly be loose for the NLDS. They’re dangerous, too, with a lineup anchored by the big three of Pujols, Holliday and Berkman finally producing with consistency. Carpenter became an ace again after Wainwright went down and the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner was a horse down the stretch, winning 10 of last 12 decisions after a 1-7 start. … The Cardinals are in the postseason for the ninth time in La Russa’s 16 seasons and second time in three years. They finished with seven more regular-season wins than the 2006 World Series champions.

Phillies: Philadelphia cruised to its fifth straight NL East title and set a franchise record with 102 wins, leading the majors for the second straight year. The Phillies finished strong with four consecutive wins after losing eight in a row following the division clincher. It was their worst losing streak since 2000, but many regulars were rested. The four-game winning streak at the end included a three-game sweep at Atlanta that knocked the Braves out of the postseason. … Pitching carried the Phillies this season. Their four aces—Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt—are the strongest rotation since the Braves had Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz a decade ago. The top four are so good that Worley was bumped to the bullpen despite an outstanding rookie year. … The bullpen was decimated by injuries early and the Phillies used four different closers, with Madson finally proving he could make the transition from setup man to closer. Bastardo was nearly unhittable for much of the season until faltering down the stretch. Lidge, perfect all season during the run to the 2008 World Series title, is back healthy and has shown he can be a valuable late-inning reliever. … The offense was inconsistent in the first half, clearly missing Jayson Werth’s bat behind Howard. A July trade for Pence solidified the lineup, and manager Charlie Manuel made a bold move to put Pence in the 3-hole in the final week, moving Utley out of the spot he held for years.

Watch For:

Red-light Rollins. The 32-year-old shortstop and 2007 NL MVP loves playing in the spotlight and enters what could be his final days with the Phillies. Rollins will be a free agent after the season, though it’s hard to imagine the team won’t re-sign him. Rollins had a nice bounce-back year and was hot during the final week. His career postseason numbers are mediocre, although he enjoys the pressure. Rollins has a .226 average with three homers and 15 RBIs in 41 postseason games.

Goodbye, Pujols? The three-time MVP got a standing ovation before his final regular-season game at home and he’ll get at least one more dose of love from adoring St. Louis fans in the playoffs. He’s had nothing of substance to say about his impending free agency since cutting off negotiations on a long-term deal before the start of spring training. Rather than allowing Pujols’ situation to paralyze them, the Cardinals have already started planning for next season by signing Berkman to a one-year deal and Carpenter to a two-year extension. They’ve also stated interest in retaining Furcal.

Cool Cliff. Lee was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his first eight postseason starts before losing Games 1 and 5 of the World Series to San Francisco last year while a member of the Texas Rangers. He had the Phillies’ only two wins against the Yankees in the ‘09 World Series. Lee turned down more money from the Yankees and Rangers to return to the Phillies last winter. He said he came back because he felt the Phillies gave him the best chance to win that elusive ring.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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