Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Cardinals Freese Phillies, force Game 5
David Freese knocked in four runs with a go-ahead two-run double and his first career postseason home run to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Edwin Jackson won his first postseason start and the teams will head to Philadelphia for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Friday night.
Jackson threw his breaking pitches more than in any start since joining the Cardinals -- 33 of his 77 pitches (43 percent) were breaking balls, which accounted for all four of his strikeouts.
The Phillies chased 10 of the 15 slider Jackson threw out of the strike zone, his highest chase percentage (67 percent) with his slider this season. Helped by the Phillies chasing, 85 percent of his sliders were strikes, also his highest this season. Phillies hitters were 2-for-10 with three strikeouts in at-bats ending with a Jackson slider.
After hitting .400 (4-for-10) with runners in scoring position in Game 1, the Cardinals’ batting average in those situations decreased for the third consecutive game (1-for-5 in Game 4), but they left just three runners on base, a day after tying a franchise postseason record by stranding 14 runners.
The Phillies looked like they were ready to put the series away early when their first three batters went double, triple and single on Jackson’s first five pitches. But they recorded just four hits -- all singles -- the rest of the way.
Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley -- who doubled and tripled, respectively, to start the game -- are 15-for-29 with six doubles and 11 runs scored combined in the series.
Utley has really turned it up through four postseason games (.462/.588/.769) compared to his poor September (.205/.295/.337).
Cleanup hitter Ryan Howard went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the 10th three-strikeout game of his postseason career, easily the most all-time -- only one other player has more than half as many. His career postseason strikeout rate of 40.4 percent is also the highest in MLB history (minimum 100 PA).
Roy Oswalt took his first career loss in a postseason start and the Phillies lost for the first time ever in Game 4 of the Divisional Series (3-1).
The Phillies had won each of their previous six postseason games in which they had a chance to eliminate an opponent, dating to 2008, matching the second-longest such streak in MLB history (according to Elias).
Former Cy Young award winners Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay will square off in Game 5 Friday night. Elias tells us it’s just the third time in major-league history (the Cy Young award was introduced in 1956) that previous award winners will face one another in a winner-take-all postseason game.
Pedro Martinez was involved in each of the first two back in 2003 -- in Game 5 of the ALDS against Barry Zito and in Game 7 of the ALCS against Roger Clemens.