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Carpenter Bests Halladay, Cardinals Get By Lifeless Phillies Offense to NLCS

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If an EKG were taken on the Phillies offense, the reading would be lifeless, flatter than Israeli lafa on Yom Kippur.   The first 2 St. Louis hitters tripled and doubled off of ace Roy Halladay on Friday to drive in the only run of the game.  Then Halladay retired the next 10 Cardinals, but the single run held up as Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter gave up 3 hits, 2 of them to centerfielder Shane Victorino and the other to 2nd baseman Chase Utley, while hitting Utley and getting 19 infield outs enroute to pitching a complete game shutout.   Halladay was brilliant giving up only 6 hits while walking 1 and striking out 7 while tossing 126 pitches in eight innings.  But the offense was nowhere to be found.   The Phils went down meekly in the ninth as 1st baseman Ryan Howard grounded out to 2nd base to end the game, while injuring his  left Achilles’ heel in the process.   We wait to hear on the severity of Howard’s injury as Carpenter bests Halladay and the Cardinals get By the lifeless Phillies offense 1-0 to advance to the NLCS.

In Friday’s other NLDS deciding game, the Milwaukee Brewers will face the Cardinals in the NLCS after edging the Arizona Diamondbacks by 3-2 in ten innings on centerfielder Nyjer Morgan’s 1 out walkoff RBI single.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal led off against Halladay with a triple and Skip Schumaker followed him with a double and the Cards were quickly on the board.  Regrettably, that 1 run stood up as the Phils offense was off-again and thus dispatched to join the Yankees on the golf circuit.

The Phils offense, beside Victorino, Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins were beyond horrible.  After game one’s breakout, they took early 4-0 and 2-0 nothing leads in games 2 and 4 before lapsing into comas.  And only outfielder Ben Francisco’s pinch 3 run homer in game 3’s win gave the Phils a temporary 2 games to 1 lead, but in retrospect, kept the Phils from falling even earlier.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides more on Friday’s season-ending fiasco.

AP sports writer Rob Maaddi writes a follow-up on the end of the Phillies’ season noting:

The Philadelphia Phillies found out that pitching doesn’t win championships. It takes clutch hitting, too.

Only Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino did anything offensively. The overall hitting woes shouldn’t be a surprise, however.

Several players have been on the decline for the past few seasons.

A lineup that features seven regulars who’ve been All-Stars was downright awful against the Cardinals. Five players hit below .211.

Howard and Placido Polanco each went 2 for 19.  Hunter Pence was 4 for 19.  Raul Ibanez was 3 for 15.  Carlos Ruiz had one hit in 17 at-bats.

An AP report on Sunday reports:

…Ryan Howard might miss the start of spring training and possibly part of the regular season after tearing an Achilles tendon.

“He cannot have surgery until the swelling resolves, and it has not been determined who will perform the surgery,” the Phillies said in a statement. “Recovery time won’t be known until after the surgery is complete, and there is no guarantee he will be ready for spring training.”

Injuries of that type usually require at least six months of recuperation. When soccer star David Beckham tore his Achilles tendon on March 14 last year, he was sidelined until Sept. 11.

What a way for Howard to begin his 5 year, $125 million contract extension.

This will mark the final 2011 game result post, although we will keep tabs on the LCS games in both leagues as well as the World Series and off-season events, trades, etc.

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