After an 11-6 loss in game one of the NLDS, the Cardinals find themselves in the same position that they’ve been in for the better part of the season: facing adversity. The goal of every road team in the postseason is always to steal one of two at the opposing ballpark, and to do just that, St. Louis turns to their bona fide ace Chris Carpenter. A win means the Cardinals have a chance to finish off the Phillies at Busch Stadium, but a loss means the Cardinals fall behind two games to none and will be forced to win three straight in this best-of-five series.
Game one was certainly not lacking in the excitement department. Lance Berkman crushed a first-pitch fastball from Roy Halladay deep into the right field seats for a first inning three-run homer to get things started. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. Halladay settled in as only he could and retired 21 hitters in a row from the second inning on. Adron Chambers and Skip Schumaker were able to do some damage and put a few runs on the board in the ninth inning, but at that point, it was too little too late.
Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse cruised through five innings allowing just one run until running into trouble in the sixth. Lohse made two crucial mistakes, and the Phillies made him pay in a big way. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez both homered as part of a five-run inning, which gave Halladay all the support he needed and changed the momentum of the game completely.
The Cardinals seemed had things under control, but the team known for its wild comebacks all year long allowed a comeback themselves. It was a disappointing outcome no doubt, but the blowout score makes things seem much worse than they were. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that one game doesn’t make or break a playoff series, but the Cardinals are only showing signs of confidence heading into game two.
That’s why it’s three out of five. It’s not a one-game series. We just need to bounce back tomorrow and hopefully tie the series and go home. I think if we can get a game right here, the home-field advantage and all that is going to be our way. We’ve got two in our place. We need to start playing our game and be ready to play, and hopefully we can even up the series.
I think there’s a lot the Cards can build on from there game one performance to come out and get a better result in game two. If they can get an early lead once again and continue to do damage offensively throughout the game, there’s a pretty good chance they will come out of here with a win. Game one winners in the Wild card era have gone on to win 47 of 64 series, but teams that win game two after losing game one are 13-11. I think it’s safe to say tonight’s game in Philadelphia is a pivotal one.