After what felt like a 162 game tune up, the Phillies begin their postseason campaign Saturday as they welcome the St Louis Cardinals to Citizens Bank Park for game one of the NLDS. The Phillies more or less cruised into the postseason as they held the best record in baseball for the vast majority of the season. The Cardinals path could not have been more different. They overcame a the largest September deficit in baseball history to pass the Braves for the wildcard spot on the final day of the season.
The Cardinals' mad dash to the postseason does come at a price though. While the Phillies got to line up their rotation of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels for games 1-3, the Cardinals used their ace in the final game and now can't use Chris Carpenter until game three at the earliest. That means they'll throw Kyle Lohse tomorrow, who has been hot over the final month of the season going 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA. Included in that final month was an 8 inning, shutout performance against a depleted Phillies lineup.
He will face Roy Halladay, who finished this season with a career best 2.35 ERA. The last time he started in the NLDS, he threw a no hitter against Cincinnati. When asked about facing the Cards, Halladay waxed poetic.
"I heard a quote a long time ago: ‘I came here to bury Caesar, not to praise him.' I think it's true," Halladay said. "We are all aware of how good the team is. We obviously have a respect for what they've done and how they've played, but you have to be confident going in that you're going to be able to beat them. You have to be confident the guys around you feel the same way."
Further adding to the difficulty for the Cardinals will the absence of Matt Holliday, who re-aggravated a hand injury earlier this week and will miss game one and very likely the entire series. Holliday missed 38 games this year and the Cardinals scored a full run less per game without out him.