The Philadelphia Phillies are on the verge of capturing their fifth straight NL East title. The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping a late season surge will get them back into the postseason after missing out last year.
Coming off a 4-2 victory in 11 innings last night, the Cardinals have posted eight victories in their last nine games and have climbed within 3 1/2 games of the Braves for the wild card spot.
The Cardinals and Phillies are both pulling for the Braves to lose this afternoon, although St. Louis' hopes are more pressing. If Atlanta loses at home to the New York Mets, the Phillies will wrap up the division title, as their magic number sits at one. The Cardinals also start the day 5 1/2 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Jake Westbrook, who has allowed exactly two earned runs in each of his last three starts, gets the ball tonight for the Cardinals. The right-hander is coming off a victory against Atlanta on Sunday, when he limited the Braves to five hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Westbrook is 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA in 15 starts on the road this season. He has made two starts vs. the Phillies, both since 2010, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.75 ERA. He's 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA at Citizens Bank Park, taking a no-decision over five innings pitched in a 7-6 loss while with Cleveland.
Roy Oswalt would seemingly be Charlie Manuel's choice for the No. 4 man in Philadelphia's rotation for the first round of the playoffs, but by struggling against the Astros on Monday, many fans are wondering if Vance Worley would supplant the veteran in the postseason.
Oswalt allowed 11 hits and five runs over seven innings in a 5-1 defeat on Monday against his former team. He is 9-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 30 games (29 starts) vs. St. Louis. He is winless in his last eight starts (0-4) against the Cardinals, last beating them August 29, 2007 when he pitched for the Astros.
In last night's game, Adron Chambers' first major league hit drove in the go- ahead run in the 11th inning to start this four-game series. Rafael Furcal doubled off Michael Schwimer (1-1) to begin the 11th for St. Louis. After Corey Patterson, whose misplay in the ninth enabled the tying run to score, sacrificed the runner to second, Schwimer intentionally walked Albert Pujols before Chambers broke a 2-2 tie with the single to right field. Pujols then scored on a double by Tyler Greene.
"It was a huge moment for Adron and also Tyler, who hadn't been playing much. He gets a big hit," said Tony La Russa, who recorded his 1,400th win as Cardinals manager.
Pujols finished 4-for-4 with two walks, while John Mayberry, Jr. knocked in a run for Philadelphia.
"They were the team that got it done today," said Philadelphia right fielder Hunter Pence.
The Cardinals are 4-2 versus the Phillies this year.