The St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t muster enough offense yesterday and face elimination in St. Louis today. Meanwhile, rookie Josh Collmenter pitched the Diamondbacks to a win over Milwaukee, allowing Arizona to live another day.
Philadelphia at St. Louis
Roy Oswalt, who made it clear in the past that he would like to pitch for St. Louis, will be on the mound in an effort to send the Phillies into the NLCS. The righthander spent much of the season nursing injuries, but is healthy now and will assume his position as the No. 4 starter in the best rotation in baseball. The Cardinals will send righty Edwin Jackson, whom they acquired from the White Sox in midseason, to the hill.
The Cardinals knocked Oswalt out of a start in June with four runs in the first two innings. That lineup included Colby Rasmus and Tony Cruz, not Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. A few weeks ago, Oswalt tossed seven shutout innings at the Cardinals as they were battling to overcome the Braves in the wild card race. That lineup featured the guys most likely to be in there tonight.
Jackson has been a little Jekyll and Hyde, but mostly Jekyll of late. The Redbirds won six of his last seven starts, although he factored in the decision just three times going 3-0. He represents the biggest x-factor of this series, having very little history against the Phillies hitters. The first four hitters in the lineup, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Hunter Pence and Ryan Howard have a combined 12 plate appearances against Jackson with just one hit. That’s not much of a sample size and typically favors the pitcher.
I certainly expect more runs than last night, and for the Cardinals to send the series back to Philadelphia for Game 5.
It might have been the most mind-bending free agent decision ever. Of all the teams to sign Clifton Phifer Lee, who would have guessed it would be the Philadelphia Phillies? After all, the Phillies had traded Lee last December, and loaded up on two other expensive aces, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Why would they need another No. 1 starter? And why would Lee return to the team that rejected him — for $28 million less than the Yankees offered to pay him?