Philadelphia Phillies (102-60) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (92-70)

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The Playoffs by chinmusic on Saturday 1 October 2011 at 11:44 am

This is the battle between the two teams with the most experience in the playoffs. The matchup looks like a solid one for a first round series. Here is a look at the matchups in this series:

CATCHER: 32-year old righty swinging Carlos Ruiz has been known to step up when the games really count in October. He played in 132 games for the Phillies this year and he was 116 for 410 (.283 avg, .754 OPS) with 49 runs scored, 6 homers, 40 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Ruiz has already played in 41 games in the post-season in his career so far and he is 35 for 125 (.280 avg, .868 OPS) with 18 runs scored, 4 homers, 15 RBIs and 3 stolen bases.

29-year old righty swinging Yadier Molina is also a big game player. He played in 139 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 145 for 475 (.305 avg, .814 OPS) with 55 runs scored, 14 homers, 65 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Molina has played in 32 games so far in his post-season career and he is 34 for 108 (.315 avg, .795 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 2 homers and 11 RBIs. Molina is also probably the best defensive catcher in all of baseball as a his a rifle for a right arm.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR CARDINALS

FIRST BASE: 31-year old lefty swinging Ryan Howard turned in another fine season for the Phillies. He played in 152 games for the Phillies this year and he was 141 for 557 (.253 avg, .835 OPS) with 81 runs scored, 33 homers, 116 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Howard has already played in 41 games in his career in the post-season and he is 42 for 151 (.278 avg, .899 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 7 homers, 27 RBIs and 1 stolen base.

31-year old righty swinging Albert Pujols had the worst year of his major league career in 2011. He played in 147 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 173 for 579 (.299 avg, .906 OPS) with 105 runs scored, 37 homers, 99 RBIs and 9 stolen bases. Pujols has been a beast in the post-season so far in his career. Pujols has played in 56 games in the post-season and he is 64 for 199 (.322 avg, 1.099 OPS) with 39 runs scored, 13 homers and 36 RBIs.

EDGE: CARDINALS

SECOND BASE: 32-year old lefty swinging Chase Utley has been banged up this year. He played in 103 games for the Phillies this year and he was 103 for 398 (.259 avg, .769 OPS) with 54 runs scored, 11 homers, 44 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Utley has played in 41 games in the post-season so far and he is 36 for 148 (.243 avg, .862 OPS) with 33 runs scored, 10 homers, 24 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

31-year old lefty swinging Skip Schumaker played in 117 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 104 for 367 (.283 avg, .685 OPS) with 34 runs scored, 2 homers and 38 RBIs. He has played in 2 games in the post-season in his career and he is 2 for 6 (.333 avg, 1.000 OPS) with 1 run scored and 1 RBI.

EDGE: HUGE FOR PHILLIES

SHORTSTOP: 32-year old switch-hitting shortstop Jimmy Rollins had a decent year for the Phillies in 2011. He played in 142 games for the Phillies this year and he was 152 for 567 (.268 avg, .736 OPS) with 87 runs scored, 16 homers, 63 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. The Phillies hope that Rollins picks it up in the post-season this year. He has played in 41 games in the post-season in his career so far and he is 38 for 168 (.226 avg, .635 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 3 homers, 15 RBIs and 9 stolen bases.

33-year old switch-hitting Rafael Furcal played in 50 games for the Cardinals after coming over from the Dodgers, and he was 50 for 196 (.255 avg, .735 OPS) with 29 runs scored, 7 homers, 16 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. He has also played in 41 games in his post-season career and he is 41 for 170 (.241 avg, .673 OPS) with 25 runs scored, 3 homers, 13 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR PHILLIES

THIRD BASE: 35-year old righty swinging Placido Polanco was banged up a lot in 2011 for the Phillies. He played in 122 games for the Phillies this year and he was 130 for 469 (.277 avg, .674 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 5 homers, 50 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Polanco has played in 33 games in the post-season in his career so far and he is 30 for 110 (.273 avg, .653 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 0 homers, 13 RBIs and 3 stolen bases.

28-year old righty swinging David Freese is one of the more underrated players in baseball, and it’s because he’s injury prone. Freese played in 97 games for the Cardinals so far this year and he is 99 for 333 (.297 avg, .791 OPS) with 41 runs scored, 10 homers, 55 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has not played in the post-season so far in his career.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR CARDINALS

LEFT FIELD: 39-year old lefty swinging Raul Ibanez will be playing most of the time in LF for the Phillies in this series. Ibanez played in 144 games for the Phillies this year and he was 131 for 535 (.245 avg, .707 OPS) with 65 runs scored, 20 homers, 84 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He has played in 32 games so far in his career in the post-season and he is 24 for 102 (.235 avg, .663 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 2 homers and 13 RBIs.

31-year old righty swinging Matt Holliday is likely going to miss the series opener with a finger injury, but he will try to give it a go in Game #2. Holliday played in 124 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 132 for 446 (.296 avg, .912 OPS) with 82 runs scored, 22 homers, 75 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He has played in 14 games in the post-season in his career and he is 15 for 57 (.263 avg, .879 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 6 homers and 11 RBIs.

EDGE: CARDINALS

CENTER FIELD: 30-year old switch-hitting Shane Victorino is the heart and soul for the Phillies. He played in 132 games for the Phillies this year and he was 145 for 519 (.279 avg, .847 OPS) with 95 runs scored, 17 homers, 61 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Victorino has played in 41 games in the post-season and he is 41 for 156 (.263 avg, .796 OPS) with 23 runs scored, 6 homers, 28 RBIs and 8 stolen bases.

26-year old lefty swinging Jon Jay took over as the starting CF after the Cardinals dealt Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays. He played in 159 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 135 for 455 (.297 avg, .768 OPS) with 56 runs scored, 10 homers, 37 RBIs an 7 stolen bases. This will be Jay’s first action in the post-season.

EDGE: PHILLIES

RIGHT FIELD: 28-year old righty swinging Hunter Pence gave the Phillies’ offense a nice jolt after he was acquired in a deal with the Astros. Pence played in 54 games for the Phillies this year and he was 67 for 207 (.324 avg, .954 OPS) with 35 runs scored, 11 homers, 35 RBIs and 1 stolen base. This will be his first shot to play in the post-season.

35-year old switch-hitting Lance Berkman really gave the Cardinals a nice boost in the lineup. He played in 145 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 147 for 488 (.301 avg, .959 OPS) with 90 runs scored, 31 homers, 94 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Berkman has played in 34 games in the post-season in his career and he is 39 for 122 (.320 avg, 1.001 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 7 homers, 30 RBIs and 2 stolen bases.

EDGE: EVEN

BENCH: The Phillies have a very solid bench. It all starts with 27-year old righty swinging outfielder John Mayberry. Mayberry played in 104 games for the Phillies this year and he was 73 for 267 (.273 avg, .854 OPS) with 37 runs scored, 15 homers, 49 RBIs and 8 stolen bases. He has yet to play in the post-season. 35-year old lefty swinging OF/1B Ross Gload will likely get to pinch hit a few times in this series. He played in 93 games for the Phillies this year and he was 29 for 113 (.257 avg, .603 OPS) with 3 runs scored, 0 homers and 8 RBIs. Gload has played in 5 games in his post-season career and he is 0 for 6 (.000 avg, .167 OPS). 29-year old righty swinging outfielder Ben Francisco beat out Domonic Brown for a roster spot. Francisco won the spot because he can play all three outfield spots. He played in 100 games for the Phillies this year and he was 61 for 250 (.244 avg, .704 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 6 homers, 34 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Francisco has played in 15 games in his post-season career and he is only 1 for 17 (.059 avg, .217 OPS) with 1 run scored. 33-year old righty swinging Wilson Valdez can play anywhere in the infield, except 1B, so he might get some action in this series. He played in 99 games for the Phillies this year and he was 68 for 273 (.249 avg, .634 OPS) with 39 runs scored, 1 homer, 30 RBIs and 3 stolen bases. Valdez has played in 3 post-season games so far in his career and he is 1 for 3 (.333 avg, .667 OPS) with 1 run scored. 34-year old lefty swinging catcher Brian Schneider played in 41 games for the Phillies this year and he was 22 for 125 (.176 avg, .502 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 2 homers and 9 RBIs.

27-year old righty swinging OF/3B Allen Craig is likely to draw some starts in LF if Matt Holliday is too gimpy to play. Craig played in 75 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 63 for 200 (.315 avg, .917 OPS) with 33 runs scored, 11 homers, 40 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. If Rafael Furcal can’t go at SS, 31-year old righty swinging Ryan Theriot might get a start or two in this series. He played in 132 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 120 for 442 (.271 avg, .662 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 1 homer, 47 RBIs and 4 stolen bases. Theriot has played in 6 games in his career in the post-season and he is 6 for 23 (.261 avg, .581 OPS) with 1 RBI and 1 stolen base. 24-year old lefty swinging infielder Daniel Descalso played in 148 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 86 for 326 (.264 avg, .687 OPS) with 35 runs scored, 1 homer, 28 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He can play all over the infield. 33-year old switch-hitting infielder Nick Punto is also very versatile. He played in 63 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 37 for 133 (.278 avg, .809 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 1 homer, 20 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Punto has played in 6 games in his post-season career and he is 6 for 21 (.286 avg, .708 OPS) with 1 RBI. 31-year old righty swinging Gerald Laird is the backup catcher. He played in 37 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 22 for 95 (.232 avg, .660 OPS) with 11 runs scored, 1 homer, 12 RBIs and 1 stolen base.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR CARDINALS

STARTING PITCHING: The Phillies have an incredible starting rotation. It all starts with 34-year old righty Roy Halladay. Halladay pitched in 32 games (all starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He pitched in his first post-season last year for the Phillies and he started 3 games (all starts) in which he was 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP. Halladay also threw only the second no-hitter in post-season history last year in the first round of the playoffs against the Reds. 33-year old lefty Cliff Lee will be the #2 starter for the Phillies. He pitched in 32 games (all starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. Lee has pitched in 10 games (all starts) in the post-season in his career and he is 7-2 with a 2.13 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. 27-year old lefty Cole Hamels is #3 in line. He pitched in 32 games (31 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. Hamels has pitched in 12 games (all starts) in the post-season and he is 6-4 with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. 34-year old righty Roy Oswalt will fill out the rotation. He pitched in 23 games (all starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Oswalt has pitched in 12 games (10 starts) in the post-season and he is 5-1 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Due to the Cardinals winning the Wild Card on the last day of the season, the rotation order is jumbled up for this series. 32-year old righty Kyle Lohse is #1 in line now. Lohse pitched in 30 games (all starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He has pitched in 6 games (1 start) in the post-season in his career and he is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. 28-year old righty Edwin Jackson will be #2 in line. He pitched in 13 games (12 starts) for the Cardinals after coming over in a deal with the Blue Jays & White Sox, and he was 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. He has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) in the post-season so far in his career and he is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. 36-year old righty Chris Carpenter will be #3 in line for the Cardinals in this series. Carpenter pitched in 34 games (all starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Carpenter also has pitched in 9 games (all starts) in his post-season career and he is 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. 25-year old lefty Jaime Garcia will be #4 in line for the Cardinals. Garcia pitched in 32 games (all starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

EDGE: PHILLIES

BULLPEN: 31-year old righty Ryan Madson finally took over as the full-time closer for the Phillies in 2011 and he did a great job. Madson pitched in 62 games (0 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 4-2 with 32 saves, a 2.37 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He has pitched in 29 games (0 starts) so far in his post-season career and he is 2-1 with 1 save, a 2.35 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. 34-year old righty Brad Lidge will probably be the set-up man for the Phillies in this series. Lidge pitched in 25 games (0 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 0-2 with 1 save, a 1.40 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He has pitched in 36 games (0 starts) in the post-season and he is 2-4 with 18 saves, a 2.28 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. 26-year old Antonio Bastardo will be the only lefty in the pen for the Phillies in this series. He pitched in 64 games (0 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 6-1 with 8 saves, a 2.64 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He really faded in September, so the Phillies will be careful in how they use him. Bastardo has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) in the post-season and he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP. 24-year old righty Vance Worley really pitched well for the Phillies this year, but he will be moving to the pen for this series. Worley pitched in 25 games (21 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. 27-year old righy Kyle Kendrick also turned in a impressive year for the Phillies in 2011. Kendrick pitched in 34 games (15 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Kendrick is hoping for better success in the playoffs this time around. He has pitched in 1 game (1 start) in the post-season and he is 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP. 25-year old righty Michael Stutes looked solid as a rookie this year for the Phillies. He worked in 57 games (0 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 6-2 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. 30-year old righty Joe Blanton won the final roster spot over 26-year old righty reliever David Herndon. Blanton pitched in 11 games (8 starts) for the Phillies this year and he was 1-2 with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Blanton has pitched in 9 games (6 starts) in the post-season and he is 2-0 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

29-year old righty Jason Motte has been the closer in September for the Cardinals and he will likely keep that role in the playoffs. Motte pitched in 78 games (0 starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 5-2 with 9 saves, a 2.25 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Motte has pitched in 1 game (0 starts) in the post-season and he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.00 WHIP. 26-year old righty Fernando Salas will likely be the set-up man for Motte. Salas pitched in 68 games for the Cardinals this year and he was 5-6 with 24 saves, a 2.28 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. 37-year old righty Octavio Dotel will also be pitching late in games for the Cardinals in this series. Dotel pitched in 29 games (0 starts) after coming over from the Blue Jays in a deal. He pitched in 29 games (0 starts) for the Cardinals and he was 3-3 with 2 saves, a 3.28 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. Dotel has pitched in 8 games (0 starts) in the post-season and he is 1-0 with a 7.88 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. 26-year old lefty Marc Rzepczynski pitched in 28 games (0 starts) for the Cardinals after coming to them in the same deal as Dotel did, and he was 0-3 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. 27-year old righty Mitchell Boggs pitched in 51 games (0 starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He has pitched in 1 game (0 starts) in the post-season so far in his career and he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. 34-year old righty Jake Westbrook will be the long reliever for the Cardinals in this series. Westbrook pitched in 33 games (all starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 12-9 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. Westbrook has pitched in 3 games (all starts) in the post-season and he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. 27-year old righty Kyle McClellan deserves to make the team but he has a dead arm, and that could keep him off the roster for this round of the playoffs. He pitched in 43 games (17 starts) for the Cardinals this year and he was 12-7 with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. McClellan has pitched in 1 game (0 starts) in the post-season and he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP.

EDGE: EVEN

MANAGERS: 67-year old Charlie Manuel managed right through game 162 and that’s the reason the Cardinals made the playoffs instead of the Braves. The Phillies finished with a 102-60 (63%) record which was good enough to win the N.L. East. It was the best record in all of baseball in 2011. Manuel has a 646-488 (57%) record during the regular season in his 7 years in charge with the Phillies. He is also 25-16 (61%) in the post-season as the skipper of the Phillies. He led them to a World Series Championship in 2008.

66-year old Tony LaRussa led the Cardinals to a 90-72 (55.6%) record which got them into the playoffs on the last day of the 2011 regular season. LaRussa has a 1,408-1,182 (54.4%) record during the regular season in his 16 yards as the Cardinals’ manager. He is also 39-35 (52.7%) as the Cardinals’ manager in the post-season and he led them to a World Series Championship in 2006.

EDGE: EVEN

PREDICTION: PHILLIES IN FIVE GAMES

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