The obvious place to start when comparing the Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals is at first base.
Each squad has a historic run producer covering first. Ryan Howard has hit more home runs and driven in more runs than any player since entering the league in 2005. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, arguably the game’s finest player, has the best all-around offensive numbers in baseball.
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“Howard and Pujols have a lot in common, but our teams have more in common than just those two guys,” Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said. “Check out some of the starting pitching.”
The Cardinals and Phils each possess Cy Young winners. The former’s stopper is Chris Carpenter, who led the NL in ERA (2.24) last season. Of course, the Phillies are led by Roy Halladay, the pitching equivalent of Pujols. After Saturday’s complete game gem, Halladay improved to 4-1. Carpenter and Halladay have four-quality pitches that they can throw in any count.
“That’s what makes it so tough to hit against guys like that,” Victorino said. “You never know what they’ll throw. They’re both just great pitchers. And each team has solid No. 2 pitchers, the Cards with [Adam] Wainwright and we have Cole [Hamels].”
The other common denominator is playoff experience and expectations.
“They won it [the World Series in 2006] and we won it [in 2008]. The Cardinals, much like us, are a team that a lot of people are talking about in the postseason.
“It’s a little early to talk about the playoffs. But it’s all about going out and being able to do that what you have to do to get there and we’ve done that. We’re confident and that’s a good thing.”