When the Philadelphia Phillies last played the St. Louis Cardinals at home, Roy Halladay and Chase Utley came with inches of changing history. Phillies fans like myself have to wonder if this season would have been so lost if Philadelphia won Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, instead of losing by 1-0. And if Halladay hadn't given up just one run in the first inning, or if Utley's long ninth-inning fly out went a few inches further, history might have been a lot different.
But although it came far too late, Halladay and Utley finally got over the hump on Aug. 10 against the Cardinals. Halladay only gave up one run again over eight innings, yet this time, he got the win thanks to Utley actually getting a winning home run to secure a 3-1 victory.
Unlike on Oct. 7, 2011, Halladay gave up a run in the second inning instead of the first before locking the Cardinals down. In addition, the Phillies actually scored a run of their own in the second inning this time. But it stayed locked at 1-1 for the next several innings, as Halladay and former Phillie Kyle Lohse dueled almost as tightly as Halladay and Chris Carpenter did 10 months earlier.
Yet unlike Carpenter, Lohse had to be taken out after seven innings, leaving the inconsistent Cardinals bullpen in charge. This gave Utley the opening he needed to hit the long ball he couldn't quite get last October. He would have only tied Game 5 of the NLDS if he hit his last ball just a tiny bit higher, yet his two-run blast on Aug. 10 put the Phillies on top.
What's more, the home run actually allowed Halladay to get the win for his eight-inning, two hit effort. Although one of those hits was a Carlos Beltran homer in the second, he was virtually unhittable the rest of the way. In fact, this was the second straight game in which he was his old dominant self, which used to be a lot more common.
Since getting outdueled by Carpenter and the Cardinals last October, Halladay and the Phillies have never been the same. Utley has also not been himself as well, considering how he started 2012 on the disabled list and has struggled since coming off of it. But for this one night, Halladay, Utley and the Phillies got those few extra inches that they couldn't get in October 2011 - even if they got them near the end of a lost season and not in the playoffs, when it would have mattered.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Phillies since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Roy Halladay
- Chase Utley