The Phillies now head on the road for game three of the NLDS as they look to take a commanding 2-1 lead in the five game series against the Cardinals. The game will be tonight at 5:07 on TBS. The Phils will send 2011 All Star and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels to the hill to face Jaime Garcia.
Hamels had a fantastic year going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and has generally been very good in the postseason, with a 3.33 career mark over 12 postseason starts. Hunter Pence says the team feels confident with Cole on the hill.
"He's got that instinct when he gets on the mound, that put-'em-away instinct," said Pence. "The big-moment pitcher."
Cole has been a bit spotty over the last month however, particularly when it comes to the long ball. He's allowed nine homers in the month of September. Cole said this week that the Cardinals can hurt you in more ways than just the long ball however.
"I think their lineup, they definitely know how to manufacture hit after hit after hit, and I think that's how they really get you going," Hamels said. "They don't just survive off the long ball, even though they're capable of doing that. They definitely know how to play small ball. I think it's just making good pitches, and we do have one of the top defenses, so [it's just a matter of] letting our guys field the ball, and making plays."
He'll face off against Jaime Garcia, who has been huge in two starts against the Phils this year, with a 0.69 ERA. He will be making his first career postseason start, but doesn't see it as a big difference from the regular season.
"It's the same baseball. To me, it's the same thing -- same preparation, same stuff I've got to do to go out there and worry about the things I've been worrying about the whole year," Garcia said. "One of the biggest things I've learned in this game is you've got to keep it as simple as possible as you can, so that's what I'm going to try to do tomorrow."
I know everyone tries to play it cool this time of year, but don't kid yourself Jamie. It's not the same thing.