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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Phillies again missing on offense

After Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that tied the best of five National League division series at two games apiece, the Phillies professed confidence in winning the decisive game Friday at Citizens Bank Park.

Having Roy Halladay on the mound, will add to that confidence.

“That is why you play the regular season to get home field advantage,” Phillies rightfielder Hunter Pence said. “Now we have Doc (Halladay) at home and it’s still going to be a great game against some of the best hitters in the world.”

Pence outlined the script.

“You have one of the best offenses in the league going against one of the best pitchers in the world,” he said. “It doesn’t get much better than this and it is what the postseason is about.”

Pence said he felt he was safe while trying to steal second base in the first inning. Instead it turned out to be a double play with Ryan Howard striking out.

“That happened so fast,” he said. “In baseball it’s hard to get the call.”

When asked about the impact he added, “it was in the first inning of the game and you just move on.”

Rollins sizzling

Lost in the loss is how hot shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been. Rollins went 2 for 4 with a run scored and is now 9 for 16 (.562) with four doubles and six runs scored. His previous high for hits in any playoff series has been six, something he accomplished twice.

Howard struggling

Ryan Howard had that huge three-run homer that turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead in Game One’s 11-6 win, but he has been struggling with that old enemy — the strikeout.

Howard struck out three times on Wednesday and now has six for the series. He is 2 for 15 (.133) with six RBIs.

“The last couple of days he’s having trouble tracking the ball, staying on the ball,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “When he does that, he usually struggles.”

Howard isn’t the only Philies struggling. Placido Polanco is 2 for 16 (.125), Carlos Ruiz is 1 for 14 (.071).

The Phillies as a team have struck out 26 times. What is interesting is that the Cardinals have struck out 36 times.

A boost by Holliday

Matt Holliday made his first start of the series for the Cardinals. He is still not 100 percent from a finger injury, but after taking batting practice, he told manager Tony La Russa that he could play.

Holliday went 1 for 3 with two runs scored. He was also hit by a pitch.

More than that, he changed the dynamic

“It all starts with having Matt Holliday back in our lineup,” said third baseman David Freese, who hit a two-run double and two-run home run. “His presence in the lineup is huge.”

High ratings

The Phillies ranked first in all of baseball for 2011 regional TV ratings, according to a report in Sports Business Journal. Ratings on Comcast SportsNet rose 11 percent this season, the ninth straight season of improved ratings. St. Louis was second.

According to a Comcast SportsNet spokeswoman Maureen Quilter, this year’s Phillies games had an average 9.1 rating. One rating point in the Philadelphia area equals 30,363 homes.

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