Halladay still preparing for Game 5

Roy Halladay allowed three hits in eight inning in the Phillies' Game 1 victory. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Nothing has changed. In fact, Roy Halladay hadn't even considered the possibility of the Phillies playing an elimination game in Game 4 until yesterday evening, when the Phillies concluded a workout at Busch Stadium. For now, his schedule remains intact: pitch a bullpen session tomorrow in preparation for an if-necessary Game 5, when he would likely square off against friend and former Toronto teammate Chris Carpenter. The thought of having to pitch on short rest has not entered his mind.

"To be honest, I haven't thought about it," Halladay said.  "I'm going to get ready to pitch Friday, and then if things change by that point, then I'll do what I have to do."

It sounds odd to even consider the scenario. Only 24 hours ago, the Phillies held a 1-0 lead in the National League Division Series and a 4-0 lead over the Cardinals in Game 2. But things change quickly in a Best-of-Five Series, and after St. Louis rallied to score five runs against Cliff Lee to seize a 5-4 victory and even the series, they also seized the upper hand.

The Phillies' mentality yesterday did not include any thought of a Game 5. Win the next two, and advance to the next round. But they face a tough match-up in young lefty Jaime Garcia, who has held the Phillies to three earned runs in 28 innings over the last two seasons. The Cardinals won each of Garcia's four starts during that stretch, including a pair of victories this season.

The Cardinals don't exactly have it easy: Phillies starter Cole Hamels went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA during the regular season, averaging 8.1 strikeouts-per-nine and 1.8 walks-per-nine while logging 216 innings over 32 starts. 

Still, a loss tomorrow night and the Phillies are suddenly playing in an elimination game.

The Phillies have Roy Oswalt scheduled to face Edwin Jackson in Game 4. There are no indications that they would change things around and start Halladay. But he has started a game on three days rest six times in his career, going 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA while logging 42 innings. In 2008, he pitched out of the bullpen against the Phillies after a lengthy rain delay, logging 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a Toronto victory at Citizens Bank Park.

Halladay and Cliff Lee would both be on full rest for Game 5. The Phillies could opt to pitch Lee out of the bullpen in Game 4 if it is an elimination scenario in lieu of his normal bullpen session.

"If it gets to that, I'll do whatever," Halladay said. "But I think, preparation wise, you have to prepare for when you are supposed to go and then if something changes, I'm sure we'll all be ready."

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