Five Reasons the Phillies Will Beat the Cardinals in NLDS Game 5
For a couple of minutes it looked like it was going to be so easy. Jimmy Rollins doubled, Chase Utley tripled and Hunter Pence singled. Five pitches into the game, the Phillies had a 2-0 lead.
Things were like that for about five minutes.
Ryan Howard struck out on a pitch that was out of the strike zone, and Hunter Pence was called out at second when he beat the tag. Things got worse from there. Shane Victorino cost the Phillies a run with his hilarious error in the outfield (here’s a slow-motion version), and the Cardinals eventually took a 3-2 lead in the eighth.
Not even the presence of a rally squirrel running across the field in the fifth could propel the Phillies to victory.
And we head to a Game 5, the first time the Phillies are in a winner-take-all game of a series since 1981. Everyone is, understandably, quite nervous about it. Yesterday, I wrote about how tough it is to watch postseason baseball. But there’s no need to be nervous before a game: The Phillies are the best team in baseball and are going to win the deciding game.
To put you at ease, here are five reasons the Phillies will beat the Cardinals tomorrow night.
Home field advantage. The Phillies went an impressive 52-29 at home this year. And the fans will no doubt be louder after Jimmy Rollins scolded them for being too quiet in Game 2. There’s evidence that loud crowds influence umpires’ calls; if you’re at the game and still have a voice Saturday morning, you didn’t want the Phillies to win enough.
Roy Halladay’s on the mound. Roy Halladay gave up three runs in the first inning and a leadoff single in the second in Game 1. Then he retired the next 21 Cardinals hitters as the Phillies rallied to victory. This is why the Phillies traded for Roy Halladay. In a small sample size, he has an impressive 2.70 ERA in four postseason starts, which includes the no-hitter that opened last year’s postseason.
The Phillies can get to Chris Carpenter. The Phillies tagged the Cardinals’ starter for four runs in three innings in Game 2, and this series could have been a sweep if the Phils didn’t lose that 4-0 lead. Pitcher-vs.-team stats are pretty stupid—what does what Chris Carpenter did against the 2004 Phillies have to do with this team?—but this is a column about making you feel better, so: In the last 10 years, Carpenter has a 4.50 ERA against the Phils.
The Phillie Phanatic. The Phanatic does that little finger-wave move at opposing pitchers and batters to put a hex on them. I don’t know the science behind it, but I assume it works or else he wouldn’t do it. There’s also that creepy thing where the Phanatic rotates his hips as if he’s having really bad sex. What is that? Anyway, that has to give the Phillies a boost, too.
These are the Phillies! Please remember: These are the Philadelphia Phillies, recent World Champions and the best team in baseball, one that’s advanced to the final four teams in the postseason the past three years. As my buddy Sean put it this morning: “Everyone needs to relax. The Phillies aren’t the Eagles.” The Phillies won’t let the city down.