Phillies going back to the showby Joseph Birmingham
The Phillies left no doubt about it tonight as they clinched their third straight division title for the second time in franchise history.
They set various benchmarks, had virtually every starter contribute to the 10-3 score, in a game featuring a rejuvenated Cy Young award winner, an early appearance by a middle reliever who pitched 3 scoreless innings and a beleaguered closer who came in and got the final out in a non save situation. This team appears to be ready for the post season.
The Phillies played small ball, long ball, and all ball as they pounded a home run, two triples and three doubles. They scored in 4 of their 5 final at bats to put this one away and leave no chance for a late inning collapse preventing them from winning the National Laegue eastern division. They still have a shot at home field advantage so there is still some incentive to win their final four games. Unlike last year, the Phillies established themselves early leading the division every day since May 30th.
Rollins and Victorino both scored their 100th run of the season, joining Howard and Utley. This marks the first time the Phillies have had 4 100 run scorers since 1932. Howard drove in his 138th run, to maintain a share of the league lead in that category. Victorino hit his 13th triple to lead the league in that category. Rollins hit his 43th double good for third in the league. Ibanez hit his 34th homerun, a personal career high for him. The Phillies become only the third club in history to have 4 players score 100 runs and 4 players hit 30 home runs in the same season.
The Phillies raised their record to 92-66 to guarantee at least an equal record to their championship season. Manuel may rest some starters, but if the Dodgers lose another game, the Phillies can get home field advantage with best National League record. The Phillies joined the Pirates and Braves as the only two other teams to win three NL titles in a row two times or more. The Braves of course won 14 in a row before the Phillies rose to dominance in the NL east.
The final week of the season will be interesting. The three division winners are set, in the Phillies, Cardinals, and Dodgers, and the Rockies are all but a lock to be the wild card seeing as the Braves lost to Florida after the Phillies had eliminated them. The question is who will play whom ? As it stands right now, the Rockies and Cardinals are tied with 90 wins, the Phillies have 92 and the Dodgers 93, but the Phillies have a game in hand on LA with an equal number of losses, so if they win out, they could equal or surpass the west coast club.
The next few days will certainly be interesting as the managers work on post season matchups and lineups.
The Phillies honored Harry Kalas, who broadcast for the team for over 40 years in the midst of their title celebration.
Now it is time to see if we can add to the three straight division crowns, and add the NL championship and MLB championship to the trophy case. The Phillies are no longer the league laughingstock as perennial losers. Those of us who have been fans for decades with the 1980 whiz kids as the only bragging point can now point to the current team and say with pride, ”These are OUR champion Phillies !”
National League East Winners 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009
National League Champions 1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2008.
World Series Champions 1980, 2008, ??