Months of detailed set-up for this one at-bat.
Who knew Chris Carpenter would be playing the Roy Halladay to Cliff Lee's Kyle Lohse today? Going into this series I don't think enough credit was given to the advantage the Cardinals have on offense compared to the Phillies—Pujols may be coming off the worst season of his career, after all, but Howard's OPS was .835. It's not as big a gap as the difference between the Phillies' pitching and everybody else's, but it's a significant one, and it even involves Ryan Theriot so long as a left-hander is pitching.
As for the three days' rest thing, it turns out it didn't work. I had a sinking feeling about it, but I wanted to be convinced, so I can't act like I predicted it would turn out quite like that. I didn't predict, either, that the Cardinals bullpen would turn in a nearly perfect six innings and that Tony La Russa's various bullpen machinations would work out perfectly for the first time in nearly a hundred years.
So: Thank you Fernando Salas, for keeping the game from turning that corner between feels-like-it's-out-of-reach and okay-now-it's-out-of-reach; thank you Arthur Rhodes, for looking like Arthur Rhodes; thank you Ryan Theriot, for being what you're being; and thank you Cardinals, for rallying—which was hard enough to expect—and holding the rally with one run, which was more mind-boggling still.