The Phillies won another NL East title last night, as expected. The celebration was notably muted, especially when compared to when they won the crown in 2007. All of this success has become commonplace for the Phillies, having reached the post-season five years running. Only the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves and 1995-2007 New York Yankees have had a longer run of pure dominance in recent memory. As for the Phillies as a franchise, the previous high was three consecutive playoff berths from 1976-78. If you need a reminder of just how good you have it as a Phillies fan right now, click here and look at all of the white in the “playoffs” column prior to 2007.
Some are saying that the Phillies need to win the World Series for their great season to be validated, but given just how much variance plays a role in the final three playoff series, I don’t think that’s the case. It would certainly be disappointing if they got the boot early, but the 2011 Phillies have overcome a lot of adversity, batting nary an eyelash while lapping the rest of baseball. On pace for 106 wins, the Phillies have passed every test with flying colors; being victimized by a few bad rolls of the die in the post-season cannot and will not negate that.
For the next two weeks, the Phillies will — or, at least, should — take it easy, giving their everyday players some much-needed rest and aligning the rotation in the correct order. After that, it’s off to the battlefields. Godspeed.