Philadelphia Phillies Prove the Doubters Wrong, Win National League Pennant

C KSenior Analyst IOctober 16, 2008

A pop-up sent the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series.

A pop-up. How fitting?

This season has been so strange that only a pop-up could send this team to the World Series.

The Phillies started out better than they have started over the past few seasons. The lineup was hitting well, lead by Chase Utley. He was on track to demolish batting records for second baseman . But he soon became inconsistent, and so did the rest of the Phils.

Ryan Howard kept up his extreme strikeout rates, and Pat Burrell cooled down from his hot start. Jimmy Rollins wasn't producing like normal, and Shane Victorino didn't have the fire the Phillies relied on.

Overall, the entire lineup shriveled up for a month.

Yet, the Phillies still found a way to control the division for that period of time. Much of the props for that goes to the bullpen. They were one of the best bullpens in the Bigs all season long, and they were at their best at this time of need.

Anyway, that lead was held all the way until the middle of the summer.

The Phillies' lineup was just heating back up, but it suddenly nosedived just as quickly as it had gotten better.

Everyone started slumping, especially Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. The two had terrible Augusts, which didn't spell well for the team.

On the other hand, the hated Mets were playing great ball. Jerry Manuel had given this team a fire that the Phillies didn't have. They soon took over the division and didn't look back until late September.

But when the Mets did reach late September, and started to smell the postseason, they curled up into a ball and crumbled under pressure.

Yet again, this inconsistent Phillies bunch took advantage of another wide open door for the second straight year. The Phillies found their way into the postseason and took off from there.

They beat the Brewers and the Dodgers relatively easily, and were sent to the World Series on a pop-up. The rest is still unknown.

So what's going to happen to this resilient bunch of Phillies?

In my opinion, the future is not bright for the World Series.

Right now, the Rays lead the Red Sox 7-0 in the seventh inning and with a win, will also move on to the World Series. So I think it's safe to say they will face the Rays.

Based on how well the Rays are hitting, I don't think the Phillies have much hope. The Rays have caught fire and have demolished the Red Sox in three-straight games, all of them in Boston. In addition, the Red Sox actually have a better pitching staff than the Phillies.

There's just no stopping this Rays club right now. The White Sox couldn't do it, the Red Sox couldn't do it, and the Phillies won't do it.

I would love to see my Phillies win it all, but I just can't see it happening.

But whatever happens, any Phillies fan should be proud of our team.

We've had the ups and downs, and we've had our struggles. But the team didn't give up. They fought and fought, and beat their expectations. Nobody thought they would really get this far. Not even many Phillies fans thought it. But they did, and let's give them that.

The World Series title is still the main goal, but for now, I'll still be okay with the National League Pennant.

So Phillies fans, until Wednesday, let's all sit back, relax, and grab a beverage of your choice. Let's soak up this pennant. Think about the season and enjoy the memories.

And when Wednesday comes around, get out of that chair, stretch, yawn, do whatever, and prepare to cheer your heart out for the National League Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies!