PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After a slow start, the Phillies won the all-important first game of the NLDS. They did so convincingly. But the page has turned and it’s time for game two – a chance for Philadelphia to put a stranglehold on the St. Louis Cardinals.
To do so, the Phils will have to go through Cards’ ace Chris Carpenter (11-9) who will get the ball on short rest.
Carpenter last pitched on Wednesday, a complete game shutout against the Astros in a must win game on the final day of the regular season. He’ll take the mound on Sunday night in what is once again a game Saint Louis has to have — hoping for a similar result.
“I feel like the other day in Houston I didn’t work too hard, didn’t throw too many pitches, and I’ve come out of it nicely,” said Carpenter. “I’m excited about (Sunday).”
The Phillies want to win equally as much. They don’t want to head to St. Louis having given the Cardinals momentum and the home-field advantage in the series.
But the Phils haven’t exactly enjoyed a whole lot of success against Carpenter. The big right-hander has gone 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts against the Phillies.
Trying to prevent that trend from continuing, Philadelphia will counter with Cliff Lee (17-8). Lee is 4-0 in his postseason career with the Phillies. Lifetime against the Cardinals, Lee is 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA.
“They’ve had to win when they’ve really needed to. They’ve been playing meaningful games for three, four weeks now,” said Lee. “They’re definitely hot, so that’s a team you’ve got to be careful with.”
Lee enters the playoffs just as hot. In his last 11 outings this season, the Phillies’ left-hander went 8-1 with a 1.27 ERA.
Reported by Dan Majka, CBS Philly.