The Playoff Schedule
The eight months of buildup from the time players reported until spring training through the long, winding road that is the major league baseball regular season is over. The favorites to represent the National League in World Series - and the likely favorite to win that World Series - will begin the 2011 postseason early Saturday evening at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phils will play host to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday. Roy Halladay will take the mound for the Phillies; the Cards starter is currently TBD, but the best bet is it's lefty Jaime Garcia.
The Phils and Cards will meet at Citizens Bank Park again on Sunday for Game 2 at 8:07 p.m. That will be Cliff Lee's first playof game as a Phillie since Game 5 of the 2009 World Series against the Yankees.
There is no time for Game 3 (Cole Hamels' start) on Tuesday in St. Louis, because by that point, one or both of the American League Series could be over... or could be still going on. So don't expect those game times until it's clear how many games will be played on Tuesday. (If both AL series are finished, the Phils would almost certainly be back in the prime time slot, after 8 p.m.).
If a Game 4 (Roy Oswalt) is necessary in the Phils-Cards series, that will be played in St. Louis on Wednesday, with a Game 5 on tap for Friday at Citizens Bank Park (should that be necessary, too).
If you really want to look ahead:
The NLCS begins on Sunday Oct. 9 at the team with home field advantage. Game 2 of the NLCS is the next night, Monday, October 10.
Game 1 of the World Series will take place Wednesday, October at the highest National League seed left standing.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves; the Philiies will have their work cut out against the Cards.
There are lots of great story lines, including Ryan Howard going home (he's a .368 hitter with a 1.207 OPS, 9 home runs and 35 RBIs in 26 career games at Busch Stadium), old Houston buddies and veterans without World Series rings Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman going head-to-head (they were teammates for 9 1/2 years with the Astros up until two Julys ago) and, of course, the matchup no one in Philadelphia is excited to see, Brad Lidge against old playoff nemesis Albert Pujols.
Personally, I'm looking forward to what we'll see early on in Game 1: the best pitcher of the last decade (Halladay) against the best hitter of the last decade (Albert Pujols).
Again, Game 1 starts at 5:07 p.m. Pack a sweatshirt, it's supposed to cool down this weekend in South Philly.
If you're not going to the games, they will be televised on TBS.
I know most of you care about the Phillies and only about the Phillies, but if you want the other game times for the first few games, here goes:
Friday, Sept. 30: Game 1, Rays at Rangers at 5:07 p.m.
Game 1, Tigers at Yankees at 8:37 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 1: Game 1, Diamondbacks at Brewers, 2:07 p.m.
Game 1, Cards at Phils at 5:07 p.m.
Game 2, Rays at Rangers (on TNT) at 7:07 p.m.
Game 2, Tigers at Yankees at 8:37 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2: Game 2, Diamondbacks at Brewers, 4:37 p.m.
Game 2, Cards at Phils at 8:07 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 3: Game 3, Rangers at Rays at 5:07 p.m.
Game 3, Yankees at Tigers at 8:37 p.m.