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They’re back for seconds! The Philadelphia Phillies won the National League pennant, and are headed to the World Series for the second consecutive year. Their opponent will be the New York Yankees, the winningest team in sports history.
The Phillies finished their roller coaster season with 93 wins, but their never-say-die attitude in the playoffs has made for the most memorable postseason in franchise history.
The Phillies kicked off the postseason by beating the Colorado Rockies in four games during the National League Division Series. Cliff Lee’s nine superb innings set the tone for the playoffs. The Phillies took the first game, 5-1, but it was not the most exciting highlight of the series.
Colorado snow postponed the third game of the series, but at 2:14 a.m on a Monday morning, the Phillies took a 2-1 series lead in a game for the ages. Tied at five in the ninth inning, Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. It wasn’t Howard’s biggest moment of the series.
“Just get me to the plate, boys,” Howard said to his teammates, who were trailing 4-2 with two outs in the ninth. It appeared as if the Rockies tied the series, but two runners reached base to keep the Phillies’ hopes alive. Howard didn’t disappoint, smashing a game-tying double. Jayson Werth followed with a run batted in. Brad Lidge closed the doors to send the Phillies to the National League Championship Series.
The series against the Los Angeles Dodgers was filled with Carlos Ruiz clutch hits, Chase Utley throwing errors, another stellar performance from Lee, poor outings from Cole Hamels, and an 11-0 blowout. In addition, Howard tied Lou Gehrig’s eight game postseason RBI record. However, Howard, the NLCS MVP, didn’t get the biggest hit.
Once again, the Phillies were down to their last out, with a familiar nemesis on the mound: Jonathan Broxton. In game four of the 2008 NLCS, Matt Stairs famously hit a game-winning home run off Broxton. This time around, Broxton didn’t want any part of Stairs, and walked him. It proved to be costly for L.A, because Jimmy Rollins delivered with the biggest hit of his career. The Phillies stunned the Dodgers by winning, 5-4. Rollins’ game four walk-off made for one of the most unbelievable endings in postseason history.
A day later, the Phillies clinched the pennant. For the first time in franchise history, the Phillies won back-to-back National League championships. They can make more history by giving us another parade.