It was a rather forgettable season for the Phillies. After five years at the top, the Phillies fell from the ranks. They finished with an even 81-81 record and missed the playoffs.
Unlike in years past, it was harder for me to come up with a top 10 list for full games. Instead, I decided to consolidate the list and pick the top 10 moments of the season. Even with an 81-81 record, it was a season full of great moments. So here are my top 10.
10. Opening Day – Halladay and Papelbon pitch two-hitter
It started off so well. Once again, Opening Day was highly anticipated. It didn’t disappoint. But what followed what hardly expected. It was shocking. The Phillies could never get into a groove and fell too far behind to make a second-half surge.
9. Phillies seven-game September win streak
On September 12, the Phillies completed a sweep of the Miami Marlins by scoring three runs in the sixth and seventh innings for a 3-1 win. That was their seventh straight win in a month that saw them trying to defy the odds. The days that followed quickly derailed that, but at the moment, there was some excitement brewing.
8. Phils crack four homers against Braves
Again, just like the seven-game win streak, there was no more exciting game at Citizens Bank Park I can remember like September 21. Entering their final 12 games of the season, the Phillies took down the Braves while getting help in the wildcard. After a 6-2 win that featured four Phillies home runs, they were three games back in the wildcard with 11 games to play.
7. Post All-Star Game Heroics
During an eight-game stretch in July, the Phillies went 5-3. All five wins came in their final at-bat. It started with a come-from-behind win in LA. Then the Phillies salvaged the series finale from the Giants with a walk-off single by Jimmy Rollins. They rallied for a four-run comeback in the ninth against the Brewers the next night. They scored six eighth-inning runs in the next game to erase a five-run deficit. They swept the Brewers the next day with another comeback and walk-off single by Rollins.
6. Ryan Howard’s two-out blast against the Mets
Smack in the middle of competing and falling out of the race, Ryan Howard kept the Phillies’ dim playoff hopes alive with a two-out, two-run home run that proved to be the game-winner. If it didn’t keep you excited about the remaining schedule, it certainly sent you back to the glory days of 2007.
5. Cliff Lee finally wins
After entering July without a win, Cliff Lee finally got all the run support he needed on July 4. In a rout against the Mets, things didn’t get much better than that afternoon.
4. Cole Hamels signs extension
Not a moment on the field, but an important moment nonetheless. With free agency looming for Hamels, the Phillies locked him up in July. With the way the offseason has gone so far, good thing they did.
3. Kratz, Mayberry play hero against Braves
Unexpected comebacks are always exciting. So when Erik Kratz managed to blast a game-tying homer off one of the game’s best closers and John Mayberry Jr. won it in extras, it was a memorable night.
2. Chase Utley returns with a blast
Some moments are like something straight from Hollywood. Chase Utley saw four pitches in his first at-bat of the season on June 27 before belting the fifth one out of the park. An already electric crowd exploded.
1. Jim Thome’s walk-off home run
Even with a limited role, there was a special place in every fan’s heart for Jim Thome. When he stepped up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning on June 23, there wasn’t total expectation that he would win the game. But with one swing, the only home run Thome hit in Citizens Bank Park this season did just that and sent everybody back 10 years earlier to when the city first fell in love with the big man.