When you saw this game on the schedule, it was preordained that we would be subjected to the images of last year’s playoff series featuring these two teams. We would see Cliff Lee’s 4-0 lead evaporate. We would see David Freese smash the crap out of Roy Oswalt. We would see Ryan Howard crumpled in a heap as the Cardinals celebrate. Worse of all, we would see the ever insufferable Tony LaRussa cackling with delight as he over managed his way to the world series. These images will indelibly mar my subconscious for eternity. God I hate Tony LaRussa.
This game looked pretty much nothing like the last time we saw the Cardinals. Last time, the score was 1-0 with scant base runners in a marvelously pitched game on both sides. This time, the score was 10-9 with neither pitcher making it out of the fifth inning. This game took over three and a half hours and featured 41 base runners with a ridiculously tight strike zone making it seem like it lasted even longer.
Joe Blanton and Jake Westbrook were absolutely terrible. Blanton was handed a 6-0 lead and had managed to hand it back by the fifth inning. He followed his worst start of the year in Boston with another absolute clunker. It looked like he should have been lifted in the fifth inning before he served up a 500ft home run to David Freese, but I suppose Charlie was attempting to get him to limp through the fifth so he would be the pitcher of record. Regardless, this was one of the worst displays of starting pitching from both dugouts that you will ever see.
Offensively, the Cardinals showed why they are on top of essentially every offensive category in the National League. They got LONG home runs from David Freese, Yadier Molina and Matt Holiday in addition to a shit ton of extra base hits from almost everyone else. The impressive part about the Phillies’ effort was that they kept up. They do not have the firepower that the Cardinals do; I love Chooch, but he is batting clean up and has never hit more than nine home runs, or driven in more than 53 runs. Regardless, the Phillies kept pace. Freddy Galvis went 3-5 with three RBI, Placido Polanco went 3-6, Ty Wigginton went 3-5 with a home run and Shane Victorino went 2-5 with three RBI. It certainly is encouraging to watch people hit the ball out of the infield.
I suppose this type of game is the reason that Jonathan Papelbon was given more money than any other reliever in the history of baseball. In a game where it seemed that the last team with a bat in their hands would win, Papelbon managed stay perfect in save opportunities and held the score at 10-9.
I think it is a good thing that this game was so different from the last game we saw them. I don’t think I could have taken another pitcher’s duel. I still hate squirrels and I still hate Tony LaRussa, but I forgot about both for a few innings of ridiculously high scoring baseball.
Cliff Lee strides to the mound to attempt to quiet the really loud Cardinal bats. Former Phillies and current douchebag Kyle Loshe goes for the Cards.