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Tag Archives: NLDS

2011 Phillies Moments: #6 An unlikely hero

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jaime Garcia had the Phillis foiled, and it seemed they couldn’t do a single thing against the Cardinals left-hander.

That is, until they pinch-hit Ben Francisco in the 7th inning in hopes of sparking something for the offense. Francisco provided more than just a spark; he single-handedly won the game for the Phillies.

Though the post season was short lived, it didn’t lack in the memory department. Francisco’s blast is one of two moments that made this Top 10 list.

Garcia was cruising through the first six innings, allowing only a trio of singles. If the Phils couldn’t strike, who knew how long Cole Hamels and their bull pen could contain the eventual World Champion Cardinals powerful line up.

Shane Victorino led off the inning with a single, only his team’s fourth hit of the evening. With John Mayberry at the plate, sure-gloved catcher Yadier Molina let a pitch get past him and Victorino scampered safely to second. Mayberry and Placido Polanco proceeded to record outs, causing fans to worry Victorino was going to be stranded at second with no outs.

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Howard may have torn Achilles

Phils slugger Ryan Howard is helped off the field after injuring his left Achilles on the final at-bat of the 2011 season. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

In mere seconds, a lot went completely wrong for Ryan Howard.

His ground ball ended the Phillies season in a completely painful way, and more than just heart break. Howard stumbled out of the box after his grounder to Cards second baseman Nick Punto and fell halfway down the baseline in pain.

It’s his left Achilles. And in Howard’s mind, it may have been torn on the play. He will know for sure tomorrow when he gets an MRI on the heel.

“I was trying to run and I just felt this pop,” Howard said. “The whole thing went numb, like it was on fire.”

As many know, Howard had been playing the better part of the second half of the season with bursitis in his foot. Bothering the Big Piece all season, he could barely run the bases. His over-exertion on the final at-bat may have been what caused the injury.

A torn Achilles can be very serious. If it is in fact that, Howard will require surgery and could be shelved for nearly a year.

Imagine a season without Ryan Howard and the complaints will finally subside.

Disappointing End: Carpenter, Cards bounce Phillies from postseason

Phils slugger Ryan Howard writhes in pain after injurying his foot on the last out of the game. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

For the second straight season, the Phillies season came down to Ryan Howard and, for the second straight season, Howard was retired for the final out of the Phillies season.

A season, which was record setting, and just flat out thrilling to watch, ended in a flash at the hands of Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals as the Phillies fell 1-0 at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s how it went down:

The crowd came out in drones and the Phillies looked to make it back to their 4th straight National League Championship series. Roy Halladay was on the mound opposing Carpenter in the biggest game of the season for both teams.

As has been well noted, Halladay struggles in the first inning of starts and Rafael Furcal took note of that fact and led off the game with a triple. Skip Schumaker followed with an RBI double and the Cardinals were in business early with a 1-0 lead. Doc settled down and wiggled his way out of trouble thanks to a heads-up play from Chase Utley and the Phillies kept the damage to a minimum.

Unfortunately, that was all Carpenter would need. He set the Phillies down in order during 3 of the first 5 innings. The Phillies threatened in the 2nd with a 1-out double from Shane Victorino and then again in the 4th before Raul Ibanez flew out to the warning track with runners on the corners. From the 6th inning on, the Phillies only managed two base runners; an Utley single and pinch hitter Ross Gload reaching on a strikeout with a wild pitch.

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Philly: “I Think You Can”

Visit Philly, known for their amazing billboards plastered all around the cit of Philadelphia as well as their pictures posted on their site and Twitter, hit another home run.

Just like the rest of the fans, Visit Philly summed up in four words what the rest of us are thinking…

Game 5 Mayhem

The Texas Rangers, fresh off an elimination of the Rays, can sit at home while six teams fight to move onto the League Championship Series.

The Yanks forced a fifth game on Tuesday while the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, with their backs seemingly on the ropes, punched back at the Phillies and Brewers respectively. The NLDS Game 5′s will be tomorrow.

So, who will move on and who will go home? Detroit’s Doug Fister and Yankee rookie Ivan Nova have the weight of their seasons lying firmly on their shoulders. Tonight, those two will duel at 8:07 ET.

For the Diamondbacks, their ace Ian Kennedy will face Brewers #2 Yovani Gollardo at 5:07 ET. Kennedy was lit up in his Game 1 start and Gollardo cruised to a Game 2 win. Arizona won both Games 3 and 4 at home, forcing the series to return to Milwaukee.

The Phils and Cards traded blows. Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter will match up once again. If you remember, Halladay gave up a three-run homer to Lance Berkman in Game 1 before settling down. Carpenter proceeded to implode in the 4th inning and his night ended drastically.

Tune in to TBS (shameless plug for an awful sports broadcasting station) for the games

Cardinals Freese Phils; force Game 5

Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino hopelessly reaches for a two-run homer off the bat of David Freese in the 6th. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Matt Holliday’s presence in the Cards line up indirectly gave them the spark they needed.

With him hitting in the five spot, David Freese got bumped down a few spots. This spread out the Cardinals fire power and he provided them with four RBIs and another day of baseball.

A two-run double in the 4th and a two-run homer in the 6th was more than enough for the Cardinals, who went on to win 5-3 and force a Game 5 back in Philadelphia.

Holiday, who was 1-for-2 with a single in two pinch-hit scenarios this series, went 1-for-3 with a run scored in his return to the line up in the post season. His troubled hand didn’t affect him enough for it to hurt the Cardinals and should be expected to be back in the line up for Game 5 on Friday.

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Francisco’s heroics put Cardinals on brink of elimination

Phils pinch-hitter Ben Francisco hits a three-run home run in the 7th inning. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Phillies put their right-handed outfielder into tonight’s line up in hopes to solve Jaime Garcia.

Except, that right-handed outfield wasn’t John Mayberry Jr., who was 0-for-3 through the first seven innings. Instead, it was little used Ben Francisco that came through in a big way against the Cardinals soft-throwing lefty.

Prior to the 7th, Garcia had allowed only three hits and a walk in six shut out innings. Things looked glum for the Phillies offense, who were giving Garcia short at-bats and preserving his chances at an eight or nine-inning outing.

Cole Hamels bought the Phillies as much time as possible. Though he lasted only six innings, throwing a grueling 118 pitches, not a single runner crossed the plate as Hamels surrendered only fives hits and three walks while striking out eight.

Unfortunately for Garcia, that bought time caught up to him.

After Garcia walked Carlos Ruiz to take his chances on the pinch-hitter, he was forced to pay dearly for the mistake. An 89-MPH fastball was left over the plate for Francisco, who blasted the pitch into the left field bull pen to give the Phils a 3-0 lead.

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LaRussa’s criticism of umpires lands him a fine from MLB

MLB had to do something about Tony LaRussa’s comments during a Game 2 in-dugout interview.

The comment: “I would add — which could get me in trouble, but I’m going to add anyway — is that we are pitching to two different strike zones.”

You’re right, Tony. You did get in trouble.

LaRussa was fined an undisclosed amount by the Commissioner’s Office, a slap on the wrist to remind LaRussa not to cry about Jerry Meals’ rather awful strike zone on National TV.

First pitch for Game 3 is tonight at 5:07. Cole Hamels will take the hill for the Phils against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia in a battle of the lefties. John Mayberry will get the start in left field over Raul Ibanez.

Cardinals show resilience; take Game 2

Cardinals RF Allen Craig triples to lead off the 7th. He scored on Albert Pujols' base hit, representing the winning run. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Perhaps, Cliff Lee was left in a bit too long.

The 7th inning aside, Lee was slowly losing his early lead due to being overly comfortable. And as resilient as they showed in the final month of the regular season, the Cards chipped away, stealing Game 2 from the Phillies with a 5-4 win.

The Phils started out with a 4-0 lead after two innings but through the course of the game, the Cardinals slowly erased the deficit until the 7th inning with the game tied 4-4.

Charle Manuel arguably left in Lee too long, who allowed 10 hits and threw 101 pitches through the first six innings. He gave up a lead-off triple to Allen Craig. Albert Pujols drove him in on a base hit to make it a 5-4 Cardinals lead. After a Lance Berkman single, Lee’s night was done.

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Doc, Phils overcome rough 1st inning; take Game 1

Phils slugger Ryan Howard reacts after his three-run homer gave the Phils a 4-3 lead. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

With one swing, Ryan Howard changed the game.

Kyle Lohse seemingly had the Phillies bats under control. That was, until the 6th inning when Lohse fell back to earth and lost all control of his first playoff appearance since giving up a grand slam in the 2007 NLDS as a Phillie against Colorado.

That all fell back on Lohse’ lap as the Phils took Game 1 of the NLDS with an 11-6 win.

Lohse was perfect through the first 10 batters he faced. It wasn’t until Chase Utley’s one-out double in the 4th that the Phillies figured out how to get to Lohse. Two batters later, they milked a run out of Lohse and cutting the Cardinals lead to 3-1.

Two innings later, and it was a whole different ball game. With one out and two men on, Howard gave the Phillies offense the jolt it needed. The crowd, sensing something big was about to happen, stood on its feet and waved the white rally towels handed out.

One pitch after another, Howard fouled off pitches he didn’t like. The 8th pitch, a change-up left belt high, was the pitch Howard liked.

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