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Category Archives: Lance Berkman

2011 Moments: #5 Howard propels Game 1 win

Ryan Howard watches his three-run homer leave the park in Game 1 of the NLDS on October 1, 2011. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

It was Kyle Lohse among all people.

And it didn’t take until the 6th inning before someone on the Phillies realized this. That person was Ryan Howard and his three-run homer in the 6th inning seemingly set the tone for the NLDS at the moment.

Lohse had a perfect game going through the first 10 batters while holding a 3-0 lead created by a three-run homer off the bat of Lance Berkman. But Chase Utley’s double that ended the hitless streak and Shane Victorino’s RBI single in the 4th gave the Phillies offense some life while cutting the Cardinals lead to 3-1.

The 6th inning marked end of Lohse’s night. After a pair of singles by Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence, the Big Piece stepped into the box and gave the Phils the 4-3 lead in a huge way.

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The stage is set: Cardinals to face Rangers in World Series

One team has unfinished business to settle.

The other has destiny on it’s side.

On Wednesday, those two teams will meet in the 2011 Fall Classic. The St. Louis Cardinals, who capped off a miraculous September run to steal the Wild Card from the Atlanta Braves. They will host the Texas Rangers, who are playing in their second straight World Series.

St. Louis is the first Wild Card team since the 2006 Detroit Tigers to have home field advantage in the World Series. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the last Wild Card team to host the World Series and win it. The latter knows a little bit about miracles, especially when the comeback against the New York Yankees in the ALCS and the end of an 86-year curse were complete with a sweeping of the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

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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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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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The Hangover 2: Halladay, Phils fall to Cards

Jimmy Rollins makes a play on a ball in Monday's 4-3 loss to St. Louis. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The Phillies hangover from their division clinching win on Saturday carried over another game.

In another meaningless game, Roy Halladay and the offense looked rusty as they went on to lose 4-3 to the Cards, helping St. Louis in their pursuit to a return to the post season.

It was the first time all season that the Phils lost a four-game series. The Phils had either swept or won 3-1 their previous eight four-game sets this season.

Halladay allowed four runs on six hits and a rare four walks (an even rarer two intentional) in eight innings while striking out six for the Phils. The outing put a mini damper on Doc’s pursuit for a second straight Cy Young Award. He is in a heavy battle with team mate Cliff Lee and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as well as Arizona’s Ian Kennedy.

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Bengel: Should the Phillies pursue Berkman?

Lance Berkman could be a huge addition to the Phillies playoff hopes. (Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman cleared waivers today. So now the question becomes: should the Phillies be interested?

After a down year splitting time between the Astros and Yankees, Berkman has re-emerged as the power hitter that he once was. He is hitting .289 with 30 home runs and 81 RBIs in 118 games.

The Phillies have already added a bat in Hunter Pence but could Berkman have a place in this lineup?

The answer is yes.

Raul Ibanez is pretty much finished and has hovered around a .240 average all season. I think he would be more suited for a bench role. John Mayberry Jr. has enjoyed a very hot month of August. He is hitting .355 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. Mayberry has been the Phillies’ everyday left-fielder as of late. But over the stretch of a season, Mayberry never has seemed to put it together.

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Series Preview: at St. Louis Cardinals

PHI: 45-28, 1st in NL East; STL: 40-33, 1st in NL Central

When: June 21-23
Where: Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56) vs Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96)
Wednesday: Cliff Lee (7-5, 3.12) vs Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.88)
Thursday: Roy Oswalt (4-5, 3.38) vs Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47)

Broadcast Info
Tuesday, 8:15, PHL 17
Wednesday, 8:15, CSN
Thursday, 8:15, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

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Berkman walks-off Phils

Lance Berkman slides into home safely, avoiding Dane Sardinha's lazy tag in the 4th inning. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The end was inevitable as it unfolded before our eyes.

Danys Baez loaded the bases and got one out in the bottom of the 9th before being replaced by J.C. Romero. But with Lance Berkman’s RBI single, the Cards pulled off the two-game sweep with a 2-1 win.

The loss extended the Phillies’ losing streak to four games. In their 16 losses this season, they have scored three or fewer runs in 14 games.

There were a lot of encouraging signs for Roy Oswalt, who made his first start since April 26. He was on a strict leash, getting yanked after five innings and 76 pitches. He allowed only one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out three.

Oswalt only drew four swinging-and-miss strikes. But I think that was more of a testament on location and movement rather than velocity, the big concern heading into the game. His fastball was hitting 92-94 MPH, an encouraging sign. Read more of this post

Series Preview: at St. Louis Cardinals

PHI: 25-14, 1st in NL East; STL: 22-19, 2nd in NL Central

When: May 16-17
Where: Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Cliff Lee (2-2, 3.78) vs Jake Westbrook (2-3, 6.92)
Tuesday: Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.33) vs. Jaime Garcia (5-1, 1.89)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, CSN
Tuesday, 8:15, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM Read more of this post