Disappointed Phillies praise Carpenter, Cards

Disappointed Phillies praise Carpenter, Cards

Disappointed Phillies praise Carpenter, Cards
PHILADELPHIA -- The clear plastic curtains that were tied up high above the lockers inside the Phillies' clubhouse would not need to be dropped. The ice, beer and champagne that would splash against these curtains meant to protect the clothing, electronics, jewelry and personal items of the ballplayers needed to be wheeled out and down the vast cavernous belly of Citizens Bank Park and into the visitors' clubhouse.

The Phillies could not hear the Cardinals celebrating their 1-0 victory in the decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Friday, but they knew all too well what was going on -- the bottles that hissed open, the corks that popped and shot out.

This was supposed to be their celebration.

"We're all very disappointed at this point," second baseman Chase Utley said. "Our ultimate goal was to win the World Series, and we fell short. I'm still proud of our guys and how we fought and battled all year long. We got beat by a pretty good team. The Cardinals, they deserve to win. They played great baseball."

With the way Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter were pitching -- like they were together again back in the Blue Jays' Minor League system, pushing each other to make it to the big leagues so that they could pitch in games as meaningful and important as this -- runs would not come easy.

Carpenter outdueled Halladay, which was no small feat, considering Halladay delivered one of his gutsiest performances in a Phillies uniform. Look no further than the eighth inning, when his 126th pitch got him out of a one-out bases-loaded jam.

"Chris was unbelievable, he really was," Halladay said of the Cards right-hander, who tossed a three-hit shutout. "Everything was down, everything was moving. You know, especially guys like him, after his first time out, he's going to be tough. You hate to lose in a one-run game, but you have to tip your hat to him. He was unbelievable and made it tough for us. He didn't give anything to us, and we were really going to have to work hard to score, and he kept us quiet."

Ultimately, though, it came down to hitting. The Cardinals finished the series with a line of .259/.315/.388 and 15 extra-base hits. The Phillies hit .226/.269/.335 with 11 extra-base hits. After Ryan Howard's momentum-swinging three-run homer in Game 1 and all the promise that swing showed, he finished 2-for-19 (.105). Aside from Jimmy Rollins and Utley, hardly anyone could be satisfied with their approach and execution at the plate.

"You know what I saw tonight, actually?" Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I saw Carpenter pitch a good game. ... We never could get [anything] going. But at the same time, we didn't do enough to get anything going. That's kind of how I look at it."

And so, Roy Oswalt's black guitar case sat in front of his locker, extra clothing and uniform pieces scattered around it. Brad Lidge sat in his chair facing his locker for a moment, head buried in his phone, unsure of whether or not he would ever dress again in that locker. Howard limped into the clubhouse on crutches with an Achilles injury. Others showered and dressed quietly, then slipped out the side door, headed home.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals celebrated and prepared to get on a plane to Milwaukee.

Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.