The Narrative: The National League East Division Champion Philadelphia Phillies and their fancy shmancy pitching rotation were supposed to roll over the Wild Card winning St. Louis Cardinals without much effort at all. However, on Friday, these two teams will face each other in a winner takes all, NLDS Game Five in Philadlephia.
This unexpected scheduling change is happening because the Cardinals, with their backs to the wall tonight, facing elimination, beat the Phillies 5-3, thanks to third baseman David Freese, who knocked in four of the five runs that St. Louis scored tonight on a double and a home run.
Edwin Jackson pitched six innings of adequate ball and Tony La Russa used reliever matchups for the rest of the game to effectively shut down the Phillies offense for all but a single run in the eighth.
Anatomy Of Karma
This is what you get for trying to elbow Carlos Ruiz in the head:
And this is what you get for laughing at Jon Jay:
But I have no idea what Sal Fasano did to deserve this:
The Most Important Play Of The Game
David Freese’s two run double in the fourth inning might not have been as awe inspiring as his home run in the sixth, but the two bagger gave the Cardinals a lead that they didn’t surrender and increased their win probability by 20%. Overall, Freese contributed 36.4% WPA in his three plate appearances before coming out of the game on a double switch. #LaRussaBall
The Biggest Disappointment Of The Game
After his single in the first inning, Hunter Pence cost his team 16.1% in win probability added. First he was caught stealing after his first inning single, then he grounded out to third in the third inning, then he reached base on a fielder’s choice in the sixth in which Chase Utley got thrown out at third, before finally grounding out to short in the eighth.
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Chase Utley went two for four tonight with a walk, contributing 21% to the probability of the Phillies winning, not including his failed greedy grab of third base in the sixth inning.
The Aggravating Thing That The Managers Did
Is it really necessary to bring in a lefty specialist to face Raul Ibanez?
Conversely, why would you let Raul Ibanez bat in the seventh inning? Or for that matter, start at all.
The Statistics You Won’t Believe
When Hunter Pence got caught stealing in the top of the first inning, it was only the second time in the last 24 attempts while Edwin Jackson was pitching.
Ryan Howard’s last eight plate appearances: K, K, 3U, 4-3, K, K, F8, K.
True story: Cardinals closer Jason Motte was a catcher at Class A Peoria, batting .203/.257/.211 in 48 games, while throwing out 45% of runners.
Carefully Selected Quote Cliche Of The Game
From Baseball Prospectus, today, we’ll go with Roy Oswalt’s perspective:
I wasn’t making my pitches. I wasn’t hitting my spots. It was almost like even if I was, they were still going to find a hole. That’s baseball. You get days where you nub three or four and they go for hits. I didn’t try to walk anybody and when I got behind in the count I still pitched my game.
Stray Observations Of The Game
This game looked like it was going to be a disaster in the first inning, but just as quickly as the Phillies threatened, they withered away. Getting only two runs after leading off with a double-triple-single had to be something of a disappointment.
I really thought we were going to get a pitch deflection 1-4-6-3 double play, but it ended up being a measly 1-4-6 force out.
Sending Holliday all the way home from first base on a double hit to left field was a gutsy but correct call.
Home plate umpire (and I use the term loosely) Angel Hernandez called what looked like a strike a ball, then signaled 1-1, but then changed the count to 2-1, when this happened:
Shortly after the squirrel ran across home plate, Roy Oswalt was seen watching this video on YouTube:
Best comment of the night from the broadcast crew: Utley, Rollins and Victorino have the green light to go anytime they want. Except when they have the red light.
Chase Utley tried to be a smart base runner in the top of the sixth by going from first to third on what looked like a ground out. Albert Pujols had other ideas. He gave up an easy out at first to throw across the diamond to third base, getting the ball there just ahead of Chase Utley.
Roy Oswalt got smacked around by one of the weakest lineups I could ever imagine smacking around Roy Oswalt.
A Cardinals fan, by Matt Sebek:
After Marc Rzepczynski struck Ryan Howard out with two out and a runner on in the eighth inning, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch tweeted this:
Note: In Scrabble a “K” is worth 5 pts.
It looked to me as though Jason Motte had a lot of “dirt” on the brim of his hat.
Former Blue Jays teammates Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter will do battle in the deciding Game 5.