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.
Meanwhile, Halladay had also settled down. After the first, Halladay limited the Cardinals to just 4 hits and 0 runs over the next 7 innings. He would finish the game with 7 strikeouts and 1 intentional walk in 8 innings. Ryan Madson finished off a scoreless 9th inning in what may be his final game pitching for the Phillies.
However, Carpenter was just a little bit better. The Cardinals’ ace threw a 3-hit complete game shutout striking out 3 and throwing 70 of 110 of his pitches for strikes.
The only offensive bright spot for the Phillies was Victorino, who finished 2-for-3.
The Phillies season ends after a record setting 102 victories and expectations higher than in any previous years. There may be some changes next year with Jimmy Rollins, Ibanez, and Madson both free agents at the end of this season.
Lost in all the shock and confusion that the end of this game brought with it; is that fact that Ryan Howard crumpled to the ground after hitting the ball to second to end the ballgame. Details on his injury to come.
2B: Victorino (1)
WP: Carpenter (1-0). LP: Halladay (1-1)