Playoff games preview: October 7
• This is the Phillies' 10th postseason series in the last five seasons, but the first to go the distance. In fact, it's just the third double-elimination game in franchise history, the other two being the 1980 NLCS, in which the Phillies beat the Astros in Game 5, and the 1981 NLDS against the Expos mentioned above. Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter was on the St. Louis team that went to Game 7 in 2006 NLCS, but he didn't start that game. Not counting the rehabbing Adam Wainwright, who recorded the final out of that series, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina are the only other Cardinals remaining from that team. Molina hit the series-winning home run in the top of the ninth of 2006's Game 7.
• Carpenter will start this game on normal rest after his disaster start in Game 2, the first game in his major league career that he started on three-day's rest. Carpenter threw just 64 pitches in that outing, so there's unlikely to be any residual fatigue in this game. During the regular season, Carpenter faced the Phillies twice and allowed just one run in 15 innings while striking out 13 against just two walks. The Phillies expected starting eight have hit .242/.265/.348 against him in their careers with 19 strikeouts against just four walks and two home runs (by Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence) in 132 total at-bats, including Game 2 of this series.
• Roy Halladay gave up a three-run home run to Lance Berkman in the top of the first inning of Game 1 of this series, but the only baserunner he allowed after Berkman was a Skip Schumaker groundball single to lead off the second, after which he retired 21 straight Cardinals before yielding to the bullpen. In total, he struck out eight Cardinals while walking just one and allowing just four total baserunners in eight innings of work. Halladay is now 3-1 in the postseason, his only loss coming when he allowed four runs in seven innings against Tim Lincecum and the Giants in Game 1 of last year's NLCS.
• Jimmy Rollins and Chase Ultey are hitting a combined .517/.588/.793 (15-for-29) in this series. The rest of the Phillies are hitting .181/.209/.267, albeit with the team's only three home runs (by Howard, Raul Ibañez and Ben Francisco).
• The Cardinals have spread their offense around much better and now have Matt Holliday back in their lineup, replacing the suddenly cold Allen Craig (1-for-10 in this series). Holliday picked up a pinch-hit single in Game 3, then started in left field and went 1-for-3 with a single in Game 4.
• Cardinals closer Jason Motte and veteran lefty/righty set-up duo Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel have combined to allow just one baserunner in six scoreless frames in this series while striking out 10 and walking none.
• The Phillies should have Cliff Lee fully available should they need him as he has had four day's of rest since his Game 2 start. Game 3 starter Cole Hamels is on his throw-day and could also make an appearance if needed. Cardinals manager Tony La Russ has confirmed that his Game 3 starter, Jaime Garcia, will join Game 1 starter Kyle Lohse in the St. Louis bullpen tonight. Garcia is a particularly compelling option as a lefty who could be called upon to face one of the Phillies' trio of lefty sluggers, Howard, Chase Utley and Ibañez.