Showcasing their balanced attack, St. Louis improved to 18-8 with a 6-3 defeat of the Phillies.
This isn’t a game that needs to be sliced and diced to death. The Cardinals will be back in the postseason and are showing why they might have the brawn to tip the scales this time, most notably, the emergence of several key players, including starter Jaime Garcia and third baseman David Freese. The Phillies never truly broke through against the 23-year-old southpaw, pitching his first season as a member of the Cardinals rotation. Offensively, Freese had three RBIs out of the five-hole, part of a lineup that doesn’t offer opposing pitchers much breathing room.
On the plus side, the Phillies must be happy with what they saw from Joe Blanton, who looked strong despite allowing 10 hits. The Phillies need someone other than Roy Halladay to reliably pitch into the seventh inning, which is what Blanton did last night. Brad Lidge also pitched a sharp inning. If there were any qualms, it’s that the Phillies may be putting too much faith into Nelson Figueroa to hold the game at 2-1 with men aboard in the 7th. But it could speak to the bigger issue, which is their lack of capable middle relief. For the short-term, blame Ryan Madson for that.
Notes: The Softbank Hawks have signed former Phillie J.D. Durbin to a one-year contract worth 20 million yen (211,000 US dollars).