They were vanquished by a brilliant pitching performance by Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter, who threw a three-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory in Game 5 of this National League Division Series, outpitching his good friend and former Toronto teammate, Roy Halladay. Carpenter ended it by retiring Ryan Howard on a grounder to second, with Howard collapsing in the grass with an injury, as the Cardinals celebrated around him.
“We expected a lot more,” said left fielder Raul Ibanez, one of several Phillies hitters whose bats went cold. “It’s crushing.”
The Cardinals famously came from 10½ games back in late August to catch and pass the Atlanta Braves on the regular season’s final day. In this series, they won games in which they trailed by four runs to Cliff Lee and by two runs to Roy Oswalt. They are the Team That Doesn’t Die.
“The magnitude of this game [was] the same as it’s been for the last month and a half,” Carpenter said of the Cardinals’ improbable run to reach this point. “We’ve been dealing with that the whole time.”
It will be difficult for the Phillies to spin their first-round exit as anything but a colossal failure, given the towering expectations (and payroll) they engendered by amassing the most distinguished starting rotation in a generation. They won 102 games this season, by far the most in the majors, and the sight of that team dismantled in a week’s time by a hungrier, more dynamic opponent may require an entire winter for the Phillies and their fans to get over.
“We felt like we had the team to do it, and we came up short,” Halladay said. “It’s not necessarily that we’re lacking anything. It just didn’t work.”
The Phillies outscored the Cardinals, 15-6, over the first 11 innings of the series, but were outscored by a margin of 13-6 after that.
The only run of the game was scored in the first inning, when the Cardinals’ first two batters, Rafael Furcal and Skip Schumaker, went triple, double — putting the Phillies in a 1-0 hole four pitches into the game. Ultimately, Halladay needed 33 pitches to navigate it, with a third of those fouled away by the pesky Cardinals.
It was only the third time in the 55-year history of the Cy Young Award that two former winners met in a winner-take-all elimination game in the postseason, and the first since Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez dueled in the 2003 ALCS.