Friday, October 7, 2011
Former Cy Young winners face off in Philly
For only the third time since the Cy Young Award was introduced in 1956, Cy Young winners – Chris Carpenter (left) and Roy Halladay (right) – are facing off in a winner-take-all playoff game.
The third, and final, winner-take-all game of the 2011 LDS takes place in the City of Brotherly Love as the Philadelphia Phillies host the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are 8-5 against the Phillies this season, including playoffs, and have won four of the six meetings in Philadelphia.
Divisional Series History
The Cardinals are 10-5 all-time in winner-take-all games. Their most recent was a 3-1 win over the New York Mets in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, won on Yadier Molina ninth-inning home run. St. Louis is 4-4 all-time in winner-take-all games on the road.
The Phillies have only played two winner-take-all games. They beat the Houston Astros 8-7 in Houston in Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS, winning on a hit in the 10th inning by Garry Maddox. They also lost to the Montreal Expos 3-0 at home in Game 5 of the 1981 LDS. Steve Rogers pitched a six-hit shutout to beat them.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Philadelphia's 13 consecutive playoff series that did not go the distance was the longest such streak in major league history. The previous record was held by the Oakland Athletics, who went 12 consecutive series without playing a decisive game, from 1974 to 1992.
On the Mound
Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay lead the Cardinals and Phillies, respectively, in this game. Since the Cy Young Award was introduced in 1956, this is the third winner-take-all playoff game in which previous Cy Young winners faced off. The others were Pedro Martinez against Roger Clemens in the 2003 ALCS and Pedro Martinez against Barry Zito in the 2003 ALDS.
Carpenter went only three innings in his Game 2 start (throwing 64 pitches), his shortest postseason start of his career. The Cardinals won that game, improving Carpenter’s teams to 8-2 in his 10 career postseason starts. In his last four road postseason starts, Carpenter is 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA.
Halladay is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in two career NLDS starts, including his no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the success in this round, Halladay has allowed seven earned runs in 16.0 innings in his last two starts against the Cardinals.
Players to Watch
Albert Pujols could be playing his final game in a Cardinal uniform, as he becomes a free agent at season’s end. Pujols ranks as the all-time leader in home runs and RBI for players within their first 11 major-league seasons. In Cardinals history, he ranks second or third in just about every major statistical category, trailing either Stan Musial or Mark McGwire.
Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have been driving the Phillies offensive bus this series. The two have a combined .517 batting average (15-for-29) with a 1.381 OPS while hitting seven of the teams 10 extra-base hits. The rest of the Phillies are hitting .181 with a .474 OPS.
Rollins, specifically, has been killing the ball. His performance against non-fastballs this postseason, although a small sample size, has been solid (5-for-8 with a double). And he’s not wasting any time at the plate – if he gets a pitch to hit, he’s taking his cuts.