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Phillies NLDS Game 1 Recap: Halladay and Ryan Howard help take down Cardinals

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Philadelphia Phillies logo: http://www.wondergy.com/art/logos/phillies_logo.gifIt’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
 
Lance Berkman continued his assault on Roy Halladay  with a titantic three-run homer in the top of the first inning.

Only problem was, the Cardinals poked the bear, and it really ticked him off.

As discussed in our NLDS preview, if you’re going to try and beat Halladay, swing early in the count. It’s no secret that Halladay’s roughest inning is usually his first inning. The Cardinals attacked in the first, but that was the last chance they got. From the second inning on, Halladay retired 21 straight batters while striking out eight and only walking one. And the Phillies, whose offensive capabilities are at times questioned, came back from the early deficit and bludgeoned the Cardinals in an 11-6 win, taking the all-important first game in the best-of-five series.

As we will do with every playoff game this season, Philly2Philly will break down the good, the bad, and the interesting. Here we go:

What went right:

Almost everything. Halladay shutting down the Cardinals is no small feat, and this is a very encouraging sign. The Phillies have three other horses capable of doing the same thing.

The Phillies offense looked great. Yes it’s Kyle Lohse, but the Phils mustered next to nothing off of him a few weeks back. The Phillies weren’t very selective in the first two innings, but changed their approach the second time around the lineup. The first six hitters in the Phillies’ lineup were all productive. The biggest hit came from Ryan Howard, whose three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead. It was a vindication of sorts for Howard, who ended his post season RBI drought of 2010 with one swing of the bat. After a Shane Victorino base hit, Raul Ibanez followed with a two-run blast.

What went wrong: Cardinals logo: www.sullybaseball.blogspot.com

It was a great win, and it’s really hard to be picky, but Michael Stutes’ post-season debut was nothing short of a train wreck. Stutes pitched only one third of an inning, allowing three runs on three hits (two were charged to Stutes after he was taken out of the game) before Ryan Madson came in and put out the fire.

Whether it’s jitters or not, the Phils hope to rely on Stutes as this post season progresses. If Saturday night was any indication, Charlie Manuel might rely on him less. Big innings like that from the other team’s offense can cost you games. If the score wasn’t so out of reach when Stutes came in, it might have been a lot worse.

Looking ahead:

Hopefully, the Cardinals didn’t gain any momentum with their late surge in Game 1. They say momentum is your next game’s starting pitcher, and if that’s the case, expect a pitcher’s duel Sunday with Cliff Lee taking the hill for the Phillies and Chris Carpenter toeing the rubber for St. Louis. Carpenter will be pitching on three days rest for the first time in his career.  Lee is 1-1 against the redbirds this year while allowing just three runs. Carpenter on the other hand, is 2-0 and has been nothing short of dominant against the Phillies.

Although the Phillies have a 1-0 series lead, they really need to take Game 2 to give themselves a definitive edge on ending the series sooner rather than later. After Sunday, the series shifts to St. Louis, where Game 4 starter Jaime Garcia has excellent numbers. Moreover, the Phillies will have Carpenter waiting for them in Game 5. The Cardinals have had their share of troubles this year, so losing one game might not exactly rattle them.

One down, 10 to go.......

Check out our pre-playoff evaluation series

 

Part 1: The starting eight

Part 2: The bullpen and bench

Part 3: The starters

We want to hear from YOU during the playoffs. Send your videos of the playoffs to videos@philly2philly.com  and ALL your playoffs pics to info@philly2philly.com!! It doesn’t matter where they’re from, we just want them!!

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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