He went 19-6 in the regular season this year with 8 CG in 32 starts, and tonight might be the biggest game of his career. Roy Halladay has put the Phillies into the playoffs with his great pitching, along with the efforts of the other pitchers and offense that this team has had all season.
The Phillies now need one more win to continue their playoff run in 2011, or the season of dreams will be over for them. This group of players have been through a lot this year. There was injuries, great moments, not so great times, but it's probably the last time the team will play together this year or ever again if they do not win today.
Some Phillies players will not be back next year, Raul Ibanez is in the final year of his contract, and veteran Jimmy Rolllins is also in the last year of his contract. Rollins has only been a Phillies player for his whole career, he has been with the Phils since 2000, when he was 21 years old.
The game is a hot ticket naturally with the fans tonight. Two days ago there were over 5,600 tickets on StubHub and this morning there is over 2,500 still remaining still there. The cheapest seat was being sold for over $110 each. The fans should be loud and rowdy tonight wanting a win in the worst way. The crowd for Game 2 of the NLDS in Philly was unusually quiet during most of the game and it was noticed by viewers at home and even Jimmy Rollins mentioned it in a press conference. That won't be the way it is tonight there. A lot of what makes the crowd quiet at times can be turned around by the operators of the scoreboards and music. Remember the old Vet Stadium when they used to play the organ and get people clapping and happy? That isn't being done too effectively at Citizen's Bank Park. It's something that needs to be looked at and fixed by Phillies management.
The other Phillies teams that have won over 100 games, didn't make it to the World Series. Both 1976 and 1977 teams both had 101 wins but couldn't make it past the NLCS in those years. The 'Big Red Machine' stood in the Phillies way in 1976 and the LA Dodgers beat the Phils in the NLCS in 1977. Let's hope this 2011 team can reverse that trend, again they need to win tonight to get to the NLCS this year. The NY Yankees lost their final home game of the year, Game 5 last night against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees will not be in the World Series this year, in the AL it will be either the Tigers or the Rangers going to the World Series from that league. The looks on the Yankees faces in the dugout after their loss said it all, the Tigers built an early lead and held it for their first appearance in the ALCS since 2006 when the Tigers lost to the Cardinals in the World Series. There is also another Game 5 that starts at 5 PM tonight with the Diamondbacks and Brewers. One of those two teams will advance to the NLCS along with the winner of the Phillies and Cards game tonight at 8:37 PM.
The Phils were said to be loose at the workout at Citizen's Bank Park yesterday. The Cardinals also were said to be loose in a workout that was optional for the players. This game will be won by the team tonight that makes the least mistakes and capitalizes on scoring chances.
Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter will be throwing from the mound in perhaps the most important games of their careers yet. The Phillies guy that has been known as "Mr. October" has yet to make his mark in the series, Carlos Ruiz has been clutch in the Phillies postseason runs. Chooch is now a veteran of 10 postseason series and he has had 36 hits in those series with 8 doubles and 15 RBI. Another player for the Phillies who is due is Ryan Howard. Howard has also been in 10 playoff series during his career with the Phillies, he has 44 hits and 33 RBI's on those series which includes this one. In this NLDS though, Howard is only batting .133 with 2 hits in this NLDS series. Those two hits have been big though, producing 6 RBI. Can he carry this Phillies team to victory?
Read why Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News calls this game the 'Most important Game in Phillies History" here