AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Roy Halladay was fresh off his 20th win, and with the chance to clinch at home squandered, or at the very least made impossible by the Braves, the Phillies were just a win away from clinching the division again, and with Doc on the mound, there was a feeling the game was over. Doc had been so good for so long this season that the doubt in this game was microscopic. Doc and the rest of the Phillies made this one easy to watch, and certainly started what at the time appeared to be something special.
One swing by Jayson Werth, and the Phillies had the lead. With the Nationals having no answer for Roy Halladay on this night, that was all it took to win this one. But still, the Phillies offense was starting to put all their troubles behind them, and cruised to a 4-0 lead, with three RBIs coming from Werth. When the Phillies doubled that in the ninth inning alone, and had only three outs left, the game had turned into a laugher. Halladay wasn’t going anywhere, and he finished the job yet again, fittingly with a strikeout. Roy Halladay’s decision to come to Philadelphia had paid off. He was going to the Postseason, and it was his dominance that got him there, with an 8-0 win backing him up. It was the last regular season start Doc would make, but boy would it be a memorable one.
We could go on and on about how this game is great simply because Doc was his usual dominant self, allowing just a pair of hits all night in yet another shutout, but it’s really more than that. After squeaking by in their first two clinchers, one by winning a one-run game, the other winning on the final day of the season, the Phillies secured an early birth to the Postseason again, and just like last year, it wasn’t even close. The Phillies pulled away and cruised behind good pitching, and another party was on in Philadelphia.
This game ranks because when a division clinching game is the result of a total team effort, how can it not go remembered? Did it lack the drama? Certainly, but, most of all, this game had the excitement of a clincher, with several Phillies leading a baseball clinic, and while the Nationals watched another party, it was almost the same way Opening Day went for the Phillies. It was one of the most sound baseball games the Phillies played all season, and marked the first time any series of Phillies’ teams has advanced to the playoffs by clinching the division in four straight seasons. A little history to cap the season, and that just adds to the greatness of this game.