THEY DID IT!  The Phillies are in the playoffs!!  They won the National League East Division crown!!! 

On Saturday the Phils looked nervous and clumsy, but today was a different story all together.  Everyone contributed, everyone did their part – the starter, the bullpen, the offense, the defense, the manager – everyone.  Jamie Moyer pitched a masterful five-and-a-third innings, allowing just a single run while striking out six Nationals.  Charlie Manuel wisely brought in Tom Gordon who promptly served up an inning ending double-play.  He was followed by the amazing J.C. Romero and his paltry 1.24 ERA, and then it was Brett Myers who punched the playoff ticket with a nasty breaking ball.

Offensively, the Phillies used small ball to build a lead that was eventually punctuated by a Ryan Howard bomb in the seventh.   Howard finishes the season with 47 homers, 136 RBIs and a strikeout short of 200.  However the real story is Jimmy Rollins – the guy who talks the talk and walks the walk.  He led off the game with a single, two stolen bases and ultimately a 1-0 Phillies lead.  He’s been both the spark and the fuel to the Phillies 2007 season.  Here’s a quick look at his season highlights:

  • 716 at bats (MLB record) over a full 162 games
  • 137 runs scored (1st in NL, 2nd in MLB)
  • 212 hits (2nd in NL, 4th in MLB)
  • Fourth player in MLB history with at least 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 stolen bases
  • .296 batting average, .344 on-base percentage, .531 slugging percentage

Of course JRoll has a serious case for Most Valuable Player of the National League.  Last year the debate surrounding Ryan Howard’s MVP-candidacy focused on whether or not his obscene numbers outweighed the fact that the Phillies did not make the playoffs.  This year however, the Phillies are in the playoffs (!) and although Rollins didn’t put up astonishing numbers his consistent over-achieving from the leadoff spot deserves recognition.  I’d almost say Rollins has a better case for the award than Howard did last year. 

Then there’s his swagger…or as he puts it, “If you can’t walk around with swag, don’t walk around.”  We all recall his comments in January saying, “We’re the team to beat.”  Then he reiterated the statement just prior to the season, which incensed the Mets.  “The Phillies, they can come out and talk as much as they want,” David Wright said. “Until they prove it on the field, then it’s just talk. As far as throwing out predictions and talking about it, talk is very, very cheap.”  Well guess what, David, they proved it.  Same for you Paul LoDuca, Mr. I-didn’t-think-getting-swept-by-the-Phillies-was-a-big-deal.  Witnessing the monumental collapse by the New York Mets – a 7 game lead with 17 to play – only adds to this ecstasy.  They were cocky, over-confident and I believe it was Carlos Delgado who said, “We’re so good, we sometimes get bored.”  Yea, I bet it’s real boring not playing baseball in October.  Hopefully, the stigma of the ’64 Phillies will now be transferred to the ’07 Mets.  If you want to start the ball rolling, feel free to leave some “choke” comments on our favorite Mets blogs.

Finally, as we party tonight on Broad Street, Cottman and Frankford, or anywhere around the world, enjoy it and be safe, because tomorrow the real season begins. Ya gotta believe.  GO PHILS!

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