Wow, tonight’s game is waking me out of my long blogging slumber! What a thriller! I’m so impressed with this team. It’s extra-exciting when nobody expects much from them, and they prove them wrong again and again. The amazing September would have really been enough to satisfy me. I told myself, well, it’s a real long shot they’ll get the wild card, but I’m just happy they are making things interesting. And then we got down to the final 2 weeks and they really had a shot and then I realized – no, it’s not really enough for me if they don’t get the wild card. And then they got it – but barely! Work has been stressful lately, but the Cardinals have caused me way more stress. But it’s good stress.
That brings me to the NLDS, which nobody expected the Cardinals to win. Why would they? The Phillies are the strongest team in the NL, and possibly all of baseball. They had the home field advantage and pitchers like Halladay and Lee. But the Cardinals had something else – momentum, heart, and really high self-esteem. Plus, they have a lot of players with playoff experience.
Game 1 – Phillies 11, Cardinals 6
The Phillies jumped all over Kyle Lohse. The game was out of reach, but the Cards still battled back and scored some runs. I knew they would be gutting it out the whole way.
Game 2 – Cardinals 5, Phillies 4
I didn’t agree with Tony’s decision to pitch Carpenter on 3-days rest. I trust Tony but I don’t always understand him, but how can I expect to – I’m a fan, and he’s LaGenius! So the Phillies jumped to a 4-0 lead on Carp, and we were going to have to rely on the shaky bullpen for most of the game. Somehow, the bullpen held the Phillies from further scoring, and we battled back – against Cliff Lee of all people – for the win. Philly fans were stunned into silence.
Game 3 – Phillies 3, Cardinals 2
Jaime Garcia pitched amazingly, but so did Cole Hamels. And then Ben Francisco hit a 3-run homer in the 7th. The Cards clawed back for 2 runs, but were 1 run short. Things seemed kind of bleak, knowing we’d have to go back to Philly – that is, if we could win the next one.
Game 4 – Cardinals 5, Phillies 3
The run of oddities continues, with David Freese the unlikely hero powering the Cards to victory over Roy Oswalt.
Game 5, Cardinals 1, Phillies 0
The stage was set for a classic battle between frenemies Carpenter and Halladay, and that’s exactly what happened. We exploded for a run in the first inning, and then not much happened offensively for either team. The Cards missed a great scoring opportunity in the 7th with the bases loaded and one out, and I felt that was a bad omen. But somehow, they held on, with great defense and a complete game by an ultra-intense Chris Carpenter.
I’m just so proud of this team and excited for this match-up with the Brewers! It’s another battle of the beer cities, just like 1982. I hope it ends similarly. Man, I miss Joaquin Andujar. We are playing with his intensity, and we’re just as fun to watch.