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Philadelphia Phillies: Top 5 Clutch Playoff Performers on Active Roster

Avery MaehrerCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Top 5 Clutch Playoff Performers on Active Roster

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    The word "clutch" is often over-utilized in sports. 

    But in the circumstance of postseason play, every walk, hit, run or RBI is clutch. There is no bigger stage, and no greater chance at success and failure than in October baseball.    

    With the Phillies' establishment as a continuous force in postseason play, there have been numerous clutch performers leading the team to its unwavering success.

    Here are the top five clutch playoff performers on Philly's active roster. 

5. Chase Utley

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    Chase Utley has not performed particularly well in postseason play, at least on a consistent basis, with a batting average of just .243. 

    But, he carries with him one of the best World Series performances in history, having belted five home runs in six games against the New York Yankees in 2009. That alone makes him "clutch" enough to make the top five. If he can silence his critics and return to that level of play, he could end up being one of the Phillies' biggest offensive assets in the postseason.

4. Shane Victorino

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    His postseason batting average is a mediocre .263, but that number ranks third on the active roster. His OBP is better at .341, but is still just in the realm of "okay." But he has averaged one hit for every game. In the end, that's the type of consistency the Phillies will need come this weekend. 

    Victorino had his biggest postseason moment when in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS, he hit a grand slam off the presumably invincible C.C. Sabathia, then of the Milwaukee Brewers.

3. Ryan Howard

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    Howard may have infuriated fans when he took a called third strike to end last year's season in Game 6 of the NLCS, but he remains one of the top postseason performers on the active roster.

    His .278 postseason batting average ranks second in the lineup. Although he hasn't previously shown substantial power numbers in postseason play, he has provided nearly unsurpassed consistency at the plate when compared to some of the other names on the team.

    In terms of getting on base, Howard thrives in October, and if he can continue with that success, this Phillies offense will be hard to beat.

2. Carlos Ruiz

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    Carlos Ruiz has always been a rock behind the plate, but usually is not an insurmountable threat at the plate. But, it seems like every postseason, Ruiz more than anyone else on the team, breaks out of his shell and starts tearing it up offensively.

    His .280 postseason batting average is the highest on the team, and his .412 on-base percentage is simply a staggering figure. 

    Funny enough, his biggest postseason moment (and maybe even career moment) was a hit that never even left the infield. In Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, Ruiz drove in the game-winning run on a soft grounder to Evan Longoria. It was all they needed.

1. The Rotation

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    The backbone to this team the entire season has been the starting rotation, and that's not going to change when the calendar turns to October.

    In 2008, Cole Hamels led his team to a World Series title, earning NLCS MVP and World Series MVP honors along the way.

    In 2009, Cliff Lee was nothing short of spectacular, maintaining a minuscule 1.57 ERA, and helping the team return to its second straight World Series appearance.

    In 2010, Roy Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history in what was his first postseason start.

    Clutch cannot even begin to describe what these three pitchers have done in postseason play, especially considering how inconsistently the offense has supported them. Now, for the first time as a group, joined by fellow postseason veteran Roy Oswalt, they will attempt to finish what they've been playing towards all season: winning the World Series. 

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