Few things in life need less embellishment than the final game of a playoff series.
The choice doesn't get much clearer than win this game or start your vacation immediately.
The way you win the game doesn't matter nor does the way you lose it, because the result will be the result and that's all anyone's going to care about the next morning.
So after a week of offering little thoughts and hints about the easiest route to a Phillies victory, we're going to give up on the advice.
It's not hard to find keys to the game, should you choose to look for them.
The Phillies need Ryan Howard to hit like Ryan Howard. They need the bottom of the lineup to give them something positive to make life more difficult on Chris Carpenter. They need Roy Halladay to do everything that we've grown accustomed to seeing Halladay do over the last two years.
All of that's easy. Anyone can tell you how you win a baseball game in the abstract. The hard thing about Game Fives, about short playoff series in general, is that they aren't decided by the obvious things. They're decided by a bad bounce here or a lucky break there. They're decided by a player no one exepected becoming a hero or by a squirrel making a well-timed appearance on the field.
You can't predict these things and it's silly to even try. All you can say is that the Phillies just need to win.
They can have Halladay throw a no-hitter or they can win a sloppy 7-6 game when Jason Motte balks in the winning run and it will feel just as sweet. They can lose 11-0 or 2-1 and it will just as painful. There are no moral victories or bad wins at this point in time, because the journey stopped mattering the second the calender flipped to October.
It is all about the destination now. The Phillies set their sights on the World Series and anything less will be a painful way to end a season filled with so much promise. It no longer matters that they were the best team in baseball all season or that the Cardinals sneaked into the playoffs through the back door.
All that matters is winning and that should make for quite a Friday night.