Sunday, October 2, 2011
Cy Young winners take the hill in Game 2
In Game 2 of the NLDS, the Philadelphia Phillies will send former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the mound to try to take a 2-0 lead before the series moves west. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have lost four straight postseason games, will counter with their former Cy Young winner, Chris Carpenter.
Carpenter won only 11 games this season, his fewest in a full season since 2001. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the majors lately though after a rough start.
Despite never starting on three days’ rest in his big-league career -- which he’ll do Sunday night -- Carpenter may be the right man for the job. He’s 7-2 with a 4.14 ERA in his career against the Phillies and he’s 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA in nine career postseason starts.
Carpenter will try to neutralize the Phillies’ lefties, something Kyle Lohse couldn’t do in Game 1. Raul Ibanez is just 1-for-11 and Ryan Howard is 2-for-9 with a home run against Carpenter, but Chase Utley is 7-for-15 and has only struck out once against him.
Lee has been one of, if not the best pitcher in the majors the past two months. In 10 starts since the beginning of August he’s allowed eight earned runs, and his 0.93 ERA in the lowest among all major-league starters.
He’s may be an even better choice than Carpenter; he’s 3-1 with a 1.48 ERA in his career against the Cardinals. In 10 career postseason starts he’s 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA, although he has allowed nine earned runs in his past two postseason starts.
Lance Berkman (5-for-13) and Ryan Theriot (5-for-16) have had success against Lee in their careers but Albert Pujols is just 1-for-8 against the Phillies lefty.