Confident heading into the NLDS? You should be. Nevertheless, here are five reasons why St. Louis might be more dangerous than you think:
1) The Cardinals took six of nine meetings against the Phillies during the regular season. Dating back to last season, the Phillies are 4-9 in their last 13 meetings with St. Louis. This year, the Phillies managed more than four runs just twice in nine games against the Cardinals. One of those games was the June 21 contest when the Phils trailed 2-1 in the eighth before putting up a nine-spot thanks to some horrific St. Louis relief pitching. The other game came on Sept. 17, when the Phils held a 3-2 lead before putting up a six-spot in the eighth. So, in the nine games against the Cards this season, here how many runs the Phillies had in the first seven innings of those games: 1, 0, 1, 3, 1, 1, 3, 0, 1. Total = 11.
2) In their last 15 innings against Jaime Garcia, the Phillies have managed a total of one run. In six career games (four starts) against Philadelphia, the St. Louis lefty has given up a total of four earned runs in 30 innings. The Phillies' regular starters are a combined 11-for-70 in their careers against Garcia.
3) The Cardinals had the major leagues' best record in September, going 16-5 over their final 21 contests to steal the NL wild card. Included in that stretch was a four-game series victory in Philadelphia.
4) Which NL playoff team had the highest batting average this season? It wasn't the Phillies. It was the Cardinals (.273). They also led all NL postseason teams in runs per game (4.68) and average with runners in scoring position (.288)
5) Albert Pujols. Perhaps you've heard of him. He batted .355/.393/.561 in September and came in at a .319/.375/.584 clip after the All-Star break. And his postseason track record speaks for itself. Lance Berkman had a great year for the Cardinals, but Pujols remains the heart and soul of that offense.
There are, of course, plenty of reasons not to fear the Cardinals. Their shaky bullpen. Some key injuries. The fact that their ace, Chris Carpenter, won't go in Games 1 or 2. But don't expect them to be a pushover by any means. David Murphy, for one, thinks they're the Phils' toughest NLDS opponent yet.