I was going to write this post up after last night’s game ended, but wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say. And to be honest, I’m still not sure.
The game definitely did not end the way I had hoped or wanted it to. But it is what it is. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Phillies 1-0, eliminating them from the playoffs.
Sure Roy Halladay gave up a run in the first inning, but that run was all he gave up. What he needed was assistance from his offense which clearly he did not get. A one run lead shouldn’t have been enough for the Cards to advance but sadly it was. Even with 102 wins in the regular season the offense wasn’t always there and last night it was their undoing.
Third baseman Placido Polanco and first baseman Ryan Howard both had .105 batting averages in the NLDS series. Catcher Carlos Ruiz had a .057 batting average while right fielder Hunter Pence had .211. After Games 1 and 2, the offense just faded. And no matter how great a team’s pitching is, got to have a strong offense to back it up.
Watching Howard walk up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and nobody on, was eerily reminiscent of last year’s NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. That’s when Howard struck out looking to end that series. Well last night, the entire series once again laid on Howard’s big shoulders and he failed to deliver yet again. Though he did manage to make contact with the ball, it was playable and Howard was thrown out at first. But he never even made it to first base, he somehow tripped up exiting the box and injured his achilles (left ankle).
“I was trying to run and I just felt this pop, and the whole thing went numb like it was on fire,” Howard said. “I tried to keep going and went down. It literally felt like I was on a flat tire. I tried to get up, [but I] just couldn’t go.”
Howard said he may have hit his Achilles with his bat during his final swing of the 2011 season. Howard had been dealing with bursitis and an assortment of other foot injuries for the latter part of the summer, but he never was told continued pressure on those joints and ligaments would increase the risk of a serious injury. – Phillies.com
Howard who had to be helped off the field while the Cards were celebrating no less, is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday to see what if any damage was done.
So the offense was a bust as a whole, but I must tip my hat to St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter, who was very impressive. Going up against Doc for the first time must have been both exciting and intimidating at the same time. But Carpenter prevailed and helped his team advance to the NLCS to face the Milwaukee Brewers.
As a Philadelphia sports fan, I am used to the disappointment. Because other than the Phillies World Series win in 2008, I have watched the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) and Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) choke year after year. Doesn’t make it any easier but I’ve come to expect it. The moment Cliff Lee re-signed with the team back in December 2010, this Phillies team was predicted to go all the way . With the 4 Aces and then the acquisition of Pence, this team was built to win. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
Jimmy Rollins who stepped it up in the playoff series, is in the final year of his contract. So his future with the Phillies is unknown at this time. Raul Ibanez and closer Ryan Madson are also at the end of their contracts.
Overall the Phillies had a great year, but sadly because they didn’t make it past the NLDS, some will feel it was a bust and having the best record in all of baseball didn’t mean squat.
Not sure what the future holds for this team but guess we will find out as their off season begins. SADLY!!!
I want to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals, their Aerys Site Aaron Miles’ Fastball and its lead writer Christine Coleman! Good luck in the National League Championship Series.