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Friends Halladay, Carpenter will square off for NLCS berth

Fri., Oct. 7, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter grew up together with the Toronto Blue Jays, and the BFFs have spent plenty of time competing on golf courses and fishing boats.

The stakes will be much higher tonight when the All-Stars go head-to-head on a mound for the first time. It’ll be Halladay vs. Carpenter in Game 5 with a berth in the N.L. championship series on the line for the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

“You definitely look forward to it,” Halladay said Thursday. “Not only is Chris a good pitcher, but obviously a good friend. We’ve talked about this scenario. I think it’s something we’re both looking forward to. It’s going to be a challenge.

“Going in, you know what you’re up against, you know how good they are, you know how good Chris is. We haven’t got a chance to pitch against each other, and if you’re going to do it for the first time, might as well be now,” he said.

The best buddies already have made offseason plans for a fishing trip. One of them will get a head start on his vacation.

“It’s been a pretty good friendship for a long time,” Carpenter said. “We’ve pitched together, we’ve vacationed together, we communicate a bunch during the offseason and during the season. He just invited me to go fishing this winter, so I mean, we’ve got a real good relationship. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

This is a “dream matchup,” according to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who set it up by pitching Carpenter on three days’ rest for the first time in his career in Game 2.

“They’ve got so much common history and they’re both great pitchers, great competitors, and now we’re going to do it,” La Russa said. “It’s going to be as good as it gets. We’re looking forward to being there and trying our best. And they are so close, they both have a lot of weapons.”

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