Saturday, October 1, 2011

Phillies-Cardinals NLDS Game 1 Thoughts

One down, 10 more wins to go.  After a sluggish start for both Roy Halladay and the offense, the Phillies woke up in time to pound the Cardinals, 11-6, and start off the 2011 playoffs with a win.  Here are some of my thoughts on the game:

-Who else had a sinking feeling in their stomach after Halladay gave up the 3-run homer in the first inning and when the Phillies offense looked impatient and inept against Kyle Lohse in the early innings?  You had to figure that Halladay would settle in and he certainly did, retiring 21 straight and looking dominant from the 2nd inning on.  Take out that one swing by Lance Berkman and we'd be talking about another amazing Halladay playoff outing.

-With one swing, Ryan Howard already has more homers and RBI than he did in the entire 2010 playoffs.  We've all seen Howard come up small with runners on in close games before but he stayed patient and waited for Lohse to make a mistake.  If that's the Howard we get for the next few weeks, another title is just a formality.

-The rumors of Raul Ibanez's demise have been greatly exaggerated.  These could be his last few games with the Phillies and Ibanez has already made a huge impact.

-The bullpen still might be something to worry about.  The fact that they had to turn to Ryan Madson just to put the Cardinals away was disheartening.  Although the starters can be expected to go deep in nearly every game, someone besides Madson has to step up and get batters out.

-Albert Pujols is good and all but how about they don't basically intentionally walk him in the first inning?  Berkman and Matt Holliday (when he's healthy enough to start) can really rake so there is no reason to give them extra runners to drive in.

-Hunter Pence looked comfortable in the playoffs, picking up a big hit before Howard's homer as well as the single that put the game out of reach in the 8th inning.  He continues to be exactly what the Phillies needed to add to the lineup.

With Cliff Lee going against Chris Carpenter tomorrow, Game 2 should be a great matchup.  Expect the first team to get to 2 runs to win.

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