Despite losing 5-4 Sunday, there was a quiet confidence emanating from Raul Ibanez. Even after the Cards overcame a four-run deficit with Cliff Lee on the mound to even the NLDS.
Ibanez noted that the Phillies were not on the brink of elimination.
“It’s a brand new series,” Ibanez said. “It’s a best-of-three series. We’re fine with that. We’ve been in this situation before and we’re comfortable with it. We have to go to St. Louis and we have a pretty good pitcher who will be on the mound for us and we have no problem on the road.”
The Phillies won a staggering 50 games away from South Philadelphia, nearly half of their 102 victories. They also have another ace, Cole Hamels, who will toe the rubber.
The Phillies need a huge game from Hamels, who would love to be known as a big-game pitcher once again, after dominating the 2008 playoffs. However, Hamels lost his only start against the Cardinals a few weeks ago. He gave up four runs in seven innings in a 5-0 shutout.
But it’s difficult to read too much into that game since the Phillies were figuratively hungover from winning their fifth straight NL East crown.
Will Hamels pick the Phillies up in the most critical game of the season?
“I think Cole will be fine,” Lee said. “He’s the kind of pitcher who can go out there and take control of the game. I have total confidence in him picking us up.”