In the team’s 128 years history, the Phils would win 90 games or more only fourteen times.
The team has won 100 games or more only twice in its history, as they would win 101 games twice. The first time occurred in 1976, when the team would win 101 games, losing only 61, as they would win the first of three straight NL Eastern Division titles, before losing to the World Champions Cincinnati Reds 3-0 in the NL Championship Series. They would duplicate that record the following year, 1977, as they would win their second straight NL Eastern Division crown, before falling to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, 3-1.
Their third highest victory total would be 97 games, which they would do twice. The first time would occur in 1993, when they would unexpectively win the Eastern Division that season with a record of 97-65, then win the NL title by defeating the National League Champions Braves in the NL Championship Series, 4-2, before finally falling to the World Champions Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series, 4-2. They would then duplicate the record this year as they would win their fourth straight NL Eastern Division crown, the first time that they would do that in the team’s history, before defeating the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Divisional Series, 3-0, and then losing to the San Francisco Giants in the NL Championship Series, 4-2.
The fifth best team was the 1899 Phillies, who finished that season in third place with a 94-58 record, the team’s best record for the 19th Century, ending up nine games behind the first place Brooklyn Superbas. The sixth best team was the 2009 team which finished with a record of 93-69, winning the team’s third straight Eastern Division title, doing so for the second time in the team’s history, before defeating the Colorado Rockies in the Divisional Series, 3-1, then beating the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, 4-1, winning the team’s second straight NL title, doing so for the first time in the team’s history, before losing their World Series crown to the American League Champions New York Yankees in the World Series, 4-2.
The next two teams ended up with identical records of 92-70, giving them both the seventh best winning total. The first one was the 1964 team, the one that had the most infamous late season collapse in baseball history, until the Mets team of 2007. That team would end up being tied for second place with the Reds, a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The other team to win 92 games was the 2008 Phils, who would win their second straight Eastern Division title, before defeating first the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Divisional Series, 3-1, then the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, 4-1, and then the American League Champions Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, 4-1, winning the team’s second World Championship.
The team with the ninth best record was the 1980 Phils, who ended the season with a record of 90-72, finishing first in the Eastern Division, before first defeating the Houston Astros in the NL Championship Series, 3-2, then defeating the American League Champions Kansas City Royal, 4-2, winning the team’s first World Championship. The tenth best team was the 1916 team which ended the season with a 91-62, finishing in second place, two and a half-games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The eleventh team to win at least 90 games was the 1950 ‘Whiz Kid’ who won the pennant in 1950 with record of 91-63, only to lose the World Series to the World Champions Yankees, 4-0. The twelfth team was the 1915 team, which won the Phils’ first National League pennant with a record of 90-62, only to lose the World Series to the Boston Red Sox, 4-1. The final two teams would end up with identical records of 90-72. The first one was the 1978 team, which won the National League Eastern Division title, the third straight for the team, doing so for the first time in the team’s history, before losing the NL Championship Series to the National League Champions Dodgers, 3-1. The fourteenth, and final team, with 90 or more wins, was the 1983 team, nicknamed the ‘Wheeze Kids’, who would win the NL East, then defeat the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series, 3-1, before losing the World Series to the American League Champions Baltimore Orioles, 4-1.
Will the 2011 team become the fifteen team to win 90 games or more? Maybe, maybe not, but we won’t know for sure until next year comes and goes.
Behind the five hit pitching of the National League Championship Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Phillies have defeated the Dodgers, 5-1, to win the NLCS four games to one. The Phillies are now in the World Series for the sixth time in the organization’s 126 years history and are now looking for their second World Series crown. The Phillies would strick first in the first inning as Jimmy Rollins would smack Chad Billingsley’s 3-2 fastball into the right center field seats for a lead-off home run, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would threaten to tie the game in the second as they would put two men on base, via singles to James Loney and Matt Kemp, with only one out. But Hamels would get out of the jam as he would get Blake DeWitt to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Kemp at second base. The Phillies would then increase their lead in the third, as, with runners on first and second, and two outs, Ryan Howard would get a RBI single, knocking in Rollins, who has earlier walked, and then steal second, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead, while sending Chase Utley, who has also walked, over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Utley, making it 3-0 Phillies, while sending Howard over to third. After a wild pitch by Billingsley would send Burrell over to second base to put two runners in scoring position, Billingsley would intentionally walk Shane Victorino to load the bases. Billingsley would then be taken out of the game by Joe Torre and be replaced on the mound by Chan Ho Park. Park would then end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to ground out, 6-3. The Phillies would then put the game away in the fifth. Jayson Werth would start the inning off with a lead-off single. Utley would then hit into a force out, 3-6, that would wipe out Werth at second for the inning’s first out, while Utley would beat the throw back to first. Howard would then follow with a single, putting Utley on second base. Burrell would then hit a ground ball to Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would proceed to first boot the ball off of his glove and then kick it away from himself with his left foot, for a fielding error. Utley, who was running on the play, would then turn around third and head for home, while Howard would round second and head for third. Furcal, after catching up with the ball, would then uncork a wild throw towards home plate which would get past Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin, allowing Utley to score safely and make it a 4-0 Phillies lead as Furcal would receive his second error on the play. Meanwhile, Howard would stop at third, while Burrell would move up to second, with still one man out. Shane Victorino is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. Feliz would then strike out swinging for the inning’s second out. Carlos Ruiz would then come up and hit a grounder towards Furcal, who would then proceed to commit his third error of the inning as he threw the ball past Dodgers’ first baseman Loney, allowing Howard to cross the plate with the Phillies’ fifth run, giving the Phillies a 5-0 lead, while allowing Burrell to get to third and Victorino to move up to second, while leaving the bases still loaded. Hamels would then end the inning by grounding out to Loney at first. The Dodgers would then try to get back into the ballgame in their half of the fifth, as Casey Blake and Kemp would both reach base with back-to-back singles. But Hamels would then get DeWitt to hit into another double play, 4-6-3, wiping out Kemp at second for two outs, while sending Blake over to third. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out pinch hitter Jeff Kent swinging. The Dodgers would finally score a run in the sixth, as, with no one on base and two out, Manny Ramirez would hit a solo home run, his second home run of the series, to make it a 5-1 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out Martin looking. The Dodgers would threaten again in the seventh, as, with two men out, first Kemp and then pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra would both reach base on walks, putting runners on first and second. Hamels would then settle down enough to end the inning by striking out Kent, looking, on a 2-2 fastball. In the Dodgers’ eighth, after getting out the first two batters, Ryan Madson would give up a single to Ramirez. After Ramirez would move up to second base on defensive indifference, Madson would end the inning by getting Martin to ground out to Howard at first. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to their closer Brad Lidge. Lidge would give up a lead-off single to Loney. Lidge would then get Blake to fly out to Victorino in right center field for the inning’s first out. He would then get Kemp to hit a deep fly ball to center that would be caught in front of the fence by Victorino for the inning’s second out. After Loney would move up to second on defensive indifference, Lidge would end the game by getting Garciaparra to pop up a 3-2 slider into third base foul territory, which would be caught by Ruiz for the final out of the ballgame, sending the Phillies into the 2008 World Series.
Cole Hamels would get the win, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, earning him the NLCS MVP. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up only one hit. Brad Lidge would also pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up just one hit. Chad Billingsley would take the lost, as this time he would only last two and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Greg Maddux would pitch two innings, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out three. James McDonald would pitch two innings of shut out ball, giving up only one hit and a walk, while striking out two. Joe Beimel, Cory Wade and Hong-Chih Kuo would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Kuo), while striking out one (also Kuo).
Like in the fourth game in Milwaukee, the Phillies would take the Dodgers’ fateful out of the game early with Jimmy Rollins’ lead-off solo home run. The Phillies’ offense would then knock Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley out of the ballgame in the third by scoring two more runs against a pitcher who has wilted under the post-season spotlight. The Phillies would then get their last two runs in the fifth, thanks to three errors by Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would commit four errors in the series, all of them detrimental to the Dodgers’ hope for a series victory. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels would pitch a superb game, getting the first two Dodgers’ batters out constantly, so that Manny Ramirez would be unable to do any major damage against him, so that his solo shot late in the game would turn out to have no effect upon the game’s final outcome. Hamels was also helped along by a pair of double play balls that were hit by Blake DeWitt that would help to defuse Dodgers’ rallies in the second and fifth innings, while a Russell Martin strike out would help end a post two out threat in the seventh. The Phillies’ bullpen was once again superb as both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine for two shut out innings, both giving up only one hit.
With the victory, the Phillies can now relax for close to a week before they will finally face the American League Champion on October 22 in the home of the American League Champion. Of the two teams, I myself would prefer that the Phillies face the Boston Red Sox, as that would give them both a chance to snatch the World Series crown from the present champs as well as get revenge for the lost back in ’15. But, unless the Red Sox are able to pull off another trailing three games to one-three victories in a row senario, it looks like it’ll be a Phillies-Rays World Series, Fox’s ratings nightmare come true. And if it does, I’ll be laughing my head off, as this is what Fox gets for trying to overlook a couple of good teams because they were hoping for a Manny v. Red Sox wet dream. Shame on you, Fox. And, let go, PHILLIES!!!!