PHILADELPHIA -- What do Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Mike Pelfrey have in common? Aside from throwing with their right arms, maybe only one other thing: All are disciples of the late Harvey Dorfman, the sports psychologist whom many players credit for their success.
The subject came up before Saturday's Division Series opener at Citizens Bank Park, where Halladay started for the Phillies. But it was Carpenter, pushed up to start Game 2 on three days' rest, who was asked about his Dorfman connection to Halladay from their time together with the Blue Jays.
"Me and Doc would go up to our room, sit up and have a couple of beers and talk about different ways to control our minds and how we're going to be able to execute," Carpenter said of their Dorfman study groups. "Until you go out and you compete at this level and all the distractions and the things that go on around you, there's so much going on in your mind that if you don't figure out how to get rid of those, you can't stop them from happening."
If not for the Cardinals' frenzied rush to the National League wild card, Carpenter would have opposed Halladay in Game 1 rather than Kyle Lohse, who actually led St. Louis with 14 wins. But with the Cardinals trailing the Braves by 10½ games as late as Aug. 25, they needed every minute of the regular season to catch up, and that required Carpenter to start Game 162 Wednesday night in Houston.
Carpenter pitched a two-hitter against the Astros and the Braves blew a 3-2 lead over the Phillies in the ninth inning to hand St Louis the wild card. The game meant nothing to the Phillies, who had set up their playoff rotation. But the Cardinals have to start Carpenter on short rest Sunday for the first time in his career to make him available twice in the best-of-five series.
"I think it's on how I recover, not about my stuff," said Carpenter, 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in six September starts. "My stuff is fine. I feel good. I'm fine with it."