2008 Philadelphia Phillies season

2008 Philadelphia Phillies
National League East champions
National League champions
World Series champions
President Barack Obama greets the Phillies
after their World Series victory
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record 92–70 (.568)
Divisional place 1st
Other information
Owner(s) Bill Giles
General manager(s) Pat Gillick
Manager(s) Charlie Manuel
Local television Comcast SportsNet
CN8
WPSG-TV (CW 57)
KYW-TV (CBS 3)
Harry Kalas, Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler, Gary Matthews,
Local radio WPHT 1210 AM
Harry Kalas, Chris Wheeler, Larry Andersen, Scott Franzke, Tom McCarthy
WUBA 1480 AM (Spanish)
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The Philadelphia Phillies' 2008 season was the 126th in the history of the franchise. The team finished with a regular season record of 9270, first in the National League East. In the post-season, the Phillies won the World Series; this was the first major sports championship for Philadelphia since the 76ers swept the 1983 NBA Finals. During the season, they were managed by Charlie Manuel.

The Phillies opened the season by posting their first winning April since 2003. They also scored 60 runs over 5 games in late May in a sweep over the Colorado Rockies and accrued a 144 record over 18 games entering the month of June. The Phillies' performance declined in late June, but they improved after the All-Star break, going 96 immediately following the midseason hiatus. Closer Brad Lidge earned eight saves in those games, and did not blow a save throughout the season and the postseason. Philadelphia traded sweeps with the Los Angeles Dodgers in August and went 133 in their last 16 games, taking advantage of a late swoon by the New York Mets for the second year in a row to capture the division crown. The team won its position in the playoffs after its second consecutive East Division title. The Phillies also posted the best road record in the National League, at 4437.[1]

Philadelphia defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series (NLDS), 31, and the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), 41, to win the National League Pennant and advance to the World Series. In the World Series, the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 41, to win their first championship in 28 years, ending the Curse of Billy Penn. Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels was named the most valuable player of the NLCS and the World Series.[2]

Statistical leaders in batting for the 2008 team included center fielder Shane Victorino (batting average, .293), first baseman Ryan Howard (home runs, 48; runs batted in, 146), and second baseman Chase Utley (runs scored, 113).[3] For their accomplishments, Howard won the Josh Gibson Award for the National League, and Utley won his third consecutive Silver Slugger Award. Pitching leaders included left-handed starting pitcher Hamels (innings pitched, 22713), left-hander starter Jamie Moyer (wins, 16), and right-handed relief pitcher Lidge (saves, 41).[4] Lidge won the DHL Delivery Man of the Year and the Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year awards for his performance during the season. Victorino and shortstop Jimmy Rollins also won Gold Glove awards for their play in the field.

Offseason

Players and coaches

On October 29, 2007, Charlie Manuel signed an extension to manage the Phillies for two more years.[5] All of the coaches from the 2007 division championship season were also retained.[6] However, Davey Lopes underwent treatment for cancer and had to be replaced on an interim basis in the early part of the season.[7] The Phillies re-signed left-handed relief pitcher J. C. Romero to a new two-year contract[8] after a dominating 2007, in which he struck out 42 batters in 56 13 innings pitched while posting a 1.92 earned run average.[9] Outfielder Michael Bourn and right-handed pitcher Geoff Geary were traded to Houston for closer Brad Lidge and infielder Eric Bruntlett on November 7, 2007.[8] Outfielder Chris Roberson was traded to Baltimore for cash in January 2008,[10] while third baseman Pedro Feliz,[10] outfielder Geoff Jenkins,[11] and outfielder So Taguchi[11] arrived as free agents; Feliz was signed on January 31, while Jenkins and Taguchi signed the month before. In the broadcast booth, Tom McCarthy also returned to the team after two years as a radio announcer for the New York Mets.[12]

Uniforms

On November 29, 2007, the team announced that in honor of the franchise's 125th anniversary of playing in Philadelphia, the Phillies would wear an alternate home uniform based on their 1948 uniforms for all day home games during the season. The cap formerly used for interleague play, a red-crowned cap with a blue bill and a star within the "P" logo, was retired.[13]

Controversy with the Mets

On February 16, 2008, Mets center fielder Carlos Beltrán made a statement regarding the upcoming season. He stated that "[without] Santana, we felt, as a team, that we had a chance to win in our division. With him now, I have no doubt that we're going to win in our division. I have no doubt in that. We've got what it takes. To Jimmy Rollins: We are the team to beat."[14] Beltran's statement echoed Rollins' 2007 assertion that the Phillies were "the team to beat in the NL Eastfinally".[15] Inasmuch as Beltran had imitated Rollins' 2007 preseason prediction, Rollins arrived in camp for Spring training and responded:

"There isn't a team in the National League that's better than us. The pressure's back on them if you ask me. They were on paper the best team in the division last year and they were supposed to win, and they didn't. One, there are four other teams in our division who are going to make sure that doesn't happen, and two, has anyone ever heard of plagiarism? That was pretty good, especially coming from him. He's a quiet guy, so it was probably shocking when he said it. Not shocking in a bad way, like 'Wow, I can't believe he said that.' More like, 'Wow, he finally said something because he's a leader on that team and you definitely need to be a vocal leader."[16]

Regular season

Monthly summaries

March/April

The Phillies opened the season against the Washington Nationals at home on March 31. They failed to win any of their first three series, losing two of three against the Nationals and New York Mets, with a four-game split against the Cincinnati Reds between those series. The Phillies won their next two series against the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros.[17] After dropping a second series to the Mets, the Phillies finished the month with 15 wins and 12 losses. They did not achieve a three-game sweep against any team in the opening month, nor were they swept. By winning at least one game in each series, the Phillies were able to achieve their first winning April in several seasons,[17] and only their fourth since their last World Series appearance in 1993.

With a batting average of .360 and his Major League Baseball-leading 11 home runs, Chase Utley paced the team's offense,[18] followed closely by a resurgent Pat Burrell and his 25 runs batted in.[19] Though team speed was hampered by the loss of Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins to the disabled list,[20][21] the latter for the first time in his career,[21] the Phillies still pushed forward to a 1513 record, including their Opening Day loss to Washington. The pitching rotation was led by ace Cole Hamels, who led the team in wins (3), earned run average (ERA) (2.70), and innings pitched (43 13).[22] Reliever J. C. Romero and new closer Brad Lidge both went the entire month without sacrificing a single run, over 12 13 and 11 innings respectively.[23][24]

May

The Phillies did not achieve their first three-game series sweep until almost the end of May, taking two from the San Francisco Giants, the Arizona Diamondbacks (splitting the series 22), the Atlanta Braves, and the Nationals, and dropping two to the Giants, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Astros. However, the Phillies' first sweep was achieved in dramatic fashion, as the offense broke out for 60 runs in five games, including a 205 win over the Colorado Rockies.[17]

Though several fill-in players, including Brad Harman and T. J. Bohn, substituted during Victorino's and Rollins' absence, none was more valuable to the team during May than Jayson Werth. Expected to be primarily a platoon player coming into the season, Werth showed positive form. While Utley slowed down, Werth had a game with three home runs[25] and stole four bases in the month.[26] However, as Rollins and Victorino returned, Werth was lost to the disabled list.[27] Ryan Howard broke out of his early-season slump, batting .245 in May, nearly an 80-point increase from his average in April, and hitting ten home runs.[28] Hometown pitcher Jamie Moyer also became the sixth pitcher in Major League Baseball history to defeat all 30 teams in the league on May 26 in a 205 Phillies win over Colorado.[29]

June

June was a tale of two halves for the Phillies, as they started June with a strong combination of offense and pitching. From May 26 to June 13, the team posted a 144 record, starting their run with a 156 win over the Astros and ended with a 202 win over the Cardinals, as their record reached a first-half high of 13 games over .500 at 4128. However, the offense took a downturn as the Phillies pitchers began to sacrifice more runs in the latter part of the month. The Phillies went 311 over the remainder of June, as the pitchers allowed an average of 4.79 runs per game, compared to the offense's 3.36 runs scored per game. This was punctuated by a season-high six-game losing streak. The poor records coincided with the Phillies' stretch of interleague play for 2008, as they were swept by the Angels, and lost their series with the Red Sox, A's, and Rangers, in addition to dropping two NL series against the Cardinals and Marlins.[17] While Hamels and Kyle Kendrick each managed to post a 31 record in the rotation,[22][30] the other starters (Moyer, Adam Eaton, and Brett Myers) were not so lucky.[31][32][33] Myers' poor performance received arguably the most scrutiny, based on management's decision to move him back to the rotation from the bullpen after the 2007 season.[34] Myers would eventually accept an option to Triple-A to work on his mechanical issues and confidence.[35]

July

July began with the announcement that Chase Utley and Brad Lidge would represent the team at the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game;[36] Utley garnered the most votes of all National League players.[37] Pat Burrell was also selected as a "Final Vote" candidate,[38] but lost out on the opportunity for his first All-Star appearance to Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart.[39] The Phillies went 85 in July before the All-Star break, compiling a four-game win streak, a four-game losing streak, and winning four of their last five. The team posted a sweep of the Braves, a series loss to the Mets, and series wins over the Cardinals and the Diamondbacks.[40]

In a move to bolster their starting rotation in preparation for the pennant race, the Phillies traded three minor league players, including second baseman Adrian Cardenas, pitcher Josh Outman, and outfielder Matthew Spencer to the Oakland Athletics for starting pitcher Joe Blanton on July 17.[41] The move would prove necessary, as Blanton's start was the only game of their next series against the Mets that the Phillies would win;[40] bullpen pitchers earned the victory (Chad Durbin) or suffered the loss (Ryan Madson and Romero) in each game of the series.[42][43][44] The Phillies managed to go 75 after the All-Star break within their own division, dropping series to the Marlins and Mets, but besting the Braves and sweeping the Nationals. Brad Lidge posted a save in six straight Phillies wins, and the team ended the month on a five-game winning streak, with a final record of 1510.[45]

August

The Phillies opened August by taking two of three from the Cardinals, though they followed that by dropping a series to the Marlins.[45] On August 7, the Phillies acquired left-handed reliever Scott Eyre from the Cubs.[46] After taking two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies went west for their first trip to Dodger Stadium, dropping three consecutive games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first game saw the team sacrifice a 7-run lead that they could not overcome, and the second two of the series were both blown by the bullpen. The Dodgers' sweep in Los Angeles was completed as the Phillies dropped the last game of the series, leaving them out of first place in the division. However, the Phillies struck back, taking two of three from both the Padres and the Nationals, and completing a revenge sweep of the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. The following evening, the Phillies saw starter Jamie Moyer give up seven runs over the first three innings of their game against the Mets. However, the offense made up that deficit by scoring the tying run in the ninth; catcher Chris Coste capped the comeback by going four-for-four coming off of the bench and driving in the winning run with a bases-loaded single to deep center in the bottom of the 13th inning.[47] They ended up splitting the short series with the Mets and the next four-game series against the Cubs to close out the "dog days" of summer.

September

With a nearly-full slate of division rivals in the final month, the Phillies opened by dropping series to the Nationals and Marlins, with a 21 series win over division leaders New York between the two losses.[48] However, they pushed back into contention on the back of strong pitching, sweeping the Brewers over a four-game set while allowing only eight runs.[48] Brett Myers' return to the rotation in late July bolstered the strength of the Phillies' starters toward the end of the season; he boasted a 72 record and a 1.80 ERA from his return until September 15.[49] Taking their winning ways south to Atlanta, the Phillies completed a series sweep of the Braves; the Phillies also swept the Braves at Turner Field for the season and handed the Braves franchise its first nine-game home losing streak against a single team since 1909.[50] With an 8–4 win over the Washington Nationals on September 26, the Phillies secured their first 90-win season since 1993.[51] The next day, the Phillies clinched the NL East Division title for the second consecutive season, beating the Nationals by a score of 4–3.[52] Jamie Moyer contributed a one-run, six-hit performance over six innings and Jayson Werth led off the fifth inning with a home run. They won the division title as Brad Lidge earned his 41st consecutive save on a game-ending double play.[53] Having gone an entire season without losing a save opportunity, Lidge was recognized as 2008's National League Comeback Player of the Year.[54]

Season standings

National League East

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Philadelphia Phillies 9270 0.568 48–33 44–37
New York Mets 8973 0.549 3 48–33 41–40
Florida Marlins 8477 0.522 45–36 39–41
Atlanta Braves 7290 0.444 20 43–38 29–52
Washington Nationals 59102 0.366 32½ 34–46 25–56

Record vs. opponents

2008 National League Records

Source:
Team ARI ATL CHC CIN COL FLA HOU LAD MIL NYM PHI PIT SD SF STL WSH AL
Arizona3–52–42–415–32–74–28–102–53–33–44–310–811–73–44–26–9
Atlanta5–30–63–34–310–83–34–23–611–74–142–55–12–52–56–128–7
Chicago4–26–08–75–14–38–95–29–74–23–414–45–24–39–63–36–9
Cincinnati4–23–37–81–56–23–121–710–83–43–56–94–35–15–104–39–6
Colorado3–153–41–55–15–33–38–104–33–60–55–29–911–73–44–37–8
Florida7–28–103–42–63–54–23–45–18–1010–83–24–23–32–514–35–10
Houston2–43–39–812–33–32–44–37–85–23–48–83–37–17–84–27–11
Los Angeles10–82–42–57–110–84–33–44–23–44–45–211–79–92–43–35–10
Milwaukee5–26–37–98–103–41–58–72–42–41–514–14–36–010–56–27–8
New York3–37–112–44–36–310–82–54–34–211–74–32–55–14–312–69–6
Philadelphia4–314–44–35–35–08–104–34–45–17–114–24–23–35–412–64–11
Pittsburgh3–45–24–149–62–52–38–82–51–143–42–43–44–210–73–46–9
San Diego8–101–52–53–49–92–43–37–113–45–22–44–35–131–65–13–15
San Francisco7–115–23–41–57–113–31–79–90–61–53–32–413–54–37–06–12
St. Louis4–35–26–910–54–35–28–74–25–103–44–57–106–13–45–17–8
Washington2–412–63–33–43–43–142–43–32–66–126–124–31–50–71–58–10

Game log

2008 game log
  •   Phillies win
  •   Phillies loss
  •   Postponement
  • Bold: Phillies team member
Source: baseball-reference.com[55]

Postseason Game Log

2008 Postseason game log

Roster

All players who made an appearance for the Phillies during 2008 are included.[56]

Indicates players who started on Opening Day in 2008[57]
2008 Philadelphia Phillies roster
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

General manager

Coaches

Postseason

National League Division Series

Following their four-game sweep of Milwaukee in the beginning of September, the Phillies recorded their first playoff win since their 1993 World Series appearance on October 1, defeating the Brewers in Game 1. Cole Hamels was the victor, earning his first career playoff win. Hamels allowed no runs and two hits over his eight innings of work. Chase Utley batted in two runs, while Ryan Howard walked three times in the game.[58] In Game 2, Shane Victorino's grand slam was all the run support starter Brett Myers needed, as he pitched seven innings and allowed only two runs. The Phillies' second consecutive victory was also supported by a pair of doubles from Victorino and from Jayson Werth.[59] In a reversal of fortune, the Brewers scored two runs in the first inning of Game 3, and it proved to be enough to win the game. Brewers starter Dave Bush and closer Salomón Torres were able to hold off the Phillies despite a rally in the top of the ninth inning, keeping the Brewers alive for Game 4.[60] However, the Phillies defeated the Brewers in Game 4 at Miller Park to win the series, 31. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell all hit solo home runs, and Burrell contributed a three-run homer as well. Joe Blanton struck out seven Brewers, holding the team to one run on five hits through six innings.[61]

Box scores

Game 1
Team123456789RHE
Milwaukee000000001141
Philadelphia00300000x341
Starting pitchers:
MIL: Yovani Gallardo (0–0)
PHI: Cole Hamels (0–0)
WP: Hamels (1–0)   LP: Gallardo (0–1)   Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
Home runs:
MIL: none
PHI: none
Game 2
Team123456789RHE
Milwaukee100000100230
Philadelphia05000000x591
Starting pitchers:
MIL: CC Sabathia (0–0)
PHI: Brett Myers (0–0)
WP: Myers (1–0)   LP: Sabathia (0–1)   Sv: Lidge (2)
Home runs:
MIL: none
PHI: Shane Victorino (1)
Game 3
Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia000001000190
Milwaukee20001010x4110
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Jamie Moyer (00)
MIL: Dave Bush (00)
WP: Bush (10)   LP: Moyer (01)   Sv: Salomón Torres (1)
Home runs:
PHI: none
MIL: none
Game 4
Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia1040000106100
Milwaukee000000110280
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Joe Blanton (00)
MIL: Jeff Suppan (00)
WP: Blanton (10)   LP: Suppan (01)
Home runs:
PHI: Jimmy Rollins (1), Pat Burrell 2 (2), Jayson Werth (1)
MIL: Prince Fielder (1)

National League Championship Series

Facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS for the fourth time in history, Derek Lowe stifled the Phillies' offense for the first five innings of Game 1; however, the Phillies came from behind to score three runs in the sixth on home runs by Utley and Burrell. Hamels followed his stellar NLDS performance with a seven-inning, two-run outing, and Brad Lidge earned his 44th consecutive save in 2008.[62] Manny Ramírez' home run could not overcome the Phillies' potent offense in Game 2, who scored four runs in both the second and third innings to win the game, 85. Starting pitcher Brett Myers was 3 for 3 at the plate, driving in three runs to help his own cause. He was supported by two-hit performances from Victorino and Greg Dobbs, who started at third base.[63] Tensions escalated the following night in the third inning. After a beanball and a throw-behind by the Phillies in the previous game and no retaliation from the Dodgers, Los Angeles starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a fastball up and in to Shane Victorino, narrowly missing his head. Victorino gestured angrily, warning Kuroda to throw at other parts of his body, but not his head. This soon escalated to clearing the benches, and the Dodgers rode their momentum to the end of the game, defeating the Phillies 72 after posting five runs in the first inning.[64] The Phillies staged another comeback in the following game. Down 53 in the eighth inning, two home runs by Shane Victorino and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs plated four runs and put the Dodgers in a hole out of which they could not climb; the Phillies won the game 75. In the first decisions of the series for either bullpen, right-handed reliever Ryan Madson got the win for Philadelphia, while Cory Wade suffered the loss for Los Angeles.[65] Dodgers fans were hoping for a comeback in game five; however, Jimmy Rollins started the contest with a leadoff homer off of Chad Billingsley, who was forced out of the game in the third inning because of a pair of Phillies runs. Philadelphia added two runs on a trio of Rafael Furcal errors in the fifth. Ramírez did bring the Dodger Stadium crowd to life with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, but the Dodgers never threatened after that. The Phillies won the series in five games; winning pitcher Cole Hamels was named the series Most Valuable Player (MVP).[66] Thus, the Phillies advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1993.

Box scores

Game 1
Team123456789RHE
Los Angeles100100000271
Philadelphia00000300x370
Starting pitchers:
LAD: Derek Lowe (00)
PHI: Hamels (00)
WP: Hamels (10)   LP: Lowe (01)   Sv: Lidge (1)
Home runs:
LAD: none
PHI: Burrell (1), Utley (1)
Game 2
Team123456789RHE
Los Angeles011300000581
Philadelphia04400000x8111
Starting pitchers:
LAD: Chad Billingsley (00)
PHI: Myers (00)
WP: Myers (10)   LP: Billingsley (01)   Sv: Lidge (2)
Home runs:
LAD: Manny Ramirez (1)
PHI: none
Game 3
Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia010000100270
Los Angeles51010000x7100
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Moyer (00)
LAD: Hiroki Kuroda (00)
WP: Kuroda (10)   LP: Moyer (01)
Home runs:
PHI: none
LAD: Rafael Furcal (1)
Game 4
Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia2000010407121
Los Angeles1000220005110
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Blanton (00)
LAD: Lowe (01)
WP: Ryan Madson (10)   LP: Cory Wade (01)   Sv: Lidge (3)
Home runs:
PHI: Victorino (1), Matt Stairs (1)
LAD: Casey Blake (1)
Game 5
Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia102020000580
Los Angeles000001000173
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels (10)
LAD: Chad Billingsley (01)
WP: Hamels (20)   LP: Billingsley (02)
Home runs:
PHI: Jimmy Rollins (1)
LAD: Ramírez (2)

2008 World Series

The Phillies played in their first Fall Classic in fifteen years, which began on October 22 against the Tampa Bay Rays. The first two games were played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, followed by three games at Citizens Bank Park. The Rays had home field advantage for the series, due to an American League victory in the 2008 All-Star Game. The Phillies defeated Tampa Bay, four games to one. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels (40, 1.80 ERA, 30 K in the postseason) was named the series MVP.[67]

Game 1

Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia200100000381
Tampa Bay000110000251
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels
TB: Scott Kazmir
WP: Hamels (10)   LP: Kazmir (01)   Sv: Brad Lidge (1)
Home runs:
PHI: Chase Utley (1)
TB: Carl Crawford (1)

Philadelphia scored the first runs of the series when Chase Utley hit a home run with Jayson Werth on base in the top of the first inning. Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning; however, Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play and the score remained 20. The Phillies extended their lead when Carlos Ruiz batted in Victorino in the fourth inning. A solo home run from Carl Crawford pulled the Rays back within two runs. Tampa Bay added their second run the following inning on an RBI double by Akinori Iwamura. Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels pitched seven innings and allowed only two runs, while Brad Lidge recorded his 47th consecutive save in 2008.[68]

Game 2

Team123456789RHE
Philadelphia000000011292
Tampa Bay21010000x471
Starting pitchers:
PHI: Brett Myers (00)
TB: James Shields (00)
WP: Shields (10)   LP: Myers (01)
Home runs:
PHI: Eric Bruntlett (1)
TB: none

Tampa starter James Shields shut down the Phillies lineup, scattering seven hits and allowing no runs in 5⅔ innings of work. Outfielder B. J. Upton (2 for 4, one run scored, one RBI) and catcher Dioner Navarro (2 for 3, one run scored) led the offensive charge for the Rays as Brett Myers gave up four runs (three earned) while notching two strikeouts and three walks. Rather than power-hitting Matt Stairs, Charlie Manuel opted to go with Greg Dobbs as the DH; Dobbs was 1 for 3 for the Phillies, while Victorino and Howard supplied two hits each. Cliff Floyd extended the Rays' lead to four runs after leading off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single, advancing to third base, and scoring on a Jason Bartlett sacrifice bunt. The Phillies' loss tied the series at 11.[69]

Game 3

Team123456789RHE
Tampa Bay010000210461
Philadelphia110002001571
Starting pitchers:
TB: Matt Garza
PHI: Jamie Moyer
WP: J. C. Romero (10)   LP: J. P. Howell (01)
Home runs:
TB: none
PHI: Carlos Ruiz (1), Utley (2), Ryan Howard (1)

After a 91-minute rain delay, the offenses fought back and forth, scoring run after run in an up-and-down affair in Philadelphia. Ryan Howard ended his home run drought, hitting his first round-tripper since the end of September. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz also hit home runs for the Phillies, while Carl Crawford and Dioner Navarro contributed a double each for the Rays. Philadelphia starter Jamie Moyer turned in his first strong performance of the post-season, allowing three runs over 6⅓ innings. His counterpart Matt Garza allowed four runs over six innings, but neither would factor in the decision. After the Rays tied the game in the top of the eighth, the Phillies loaded the bases on two intentional walks with Eric Bruntlett on third base. Even with a five-man infield, Ruiz was still able to engineer some late-game heroics, sneaking a dribbling ground ball down the third base line to score Bruntlett. Philadelphia took a 21 series lead.[70]

Game 4

Team123456789RHE
Tampa Bay000110000252
Philadelphia10131040x10121
Starting pitchers:
TB: Andy Sonnanstine (00)
PHI: Joe Blanton (00)
WP: Blanton (10)   LP: Sonnanstine (01)
Home runs:
TB: Crawford (2), Eric Hinske (1)
PHI: Howard 2 (3), Blanton (1), Jayson Werth (1)

The Phillies' offensive woes seemed in the distant past as the lineup broke out in a big way during Game 4. Led by Ryan Howard's 3-for-4, 2 home run performance, and home runs by Jayson Werth and starting pitcher Joe Blanton, the Phillies pushed 10 runs across the plate. Blanton became the first World Series pitcher to hit a home run in 34 years, in addition to a strong performance on the mound, pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits. Roster addition Eric Hinske hit a home run for the Rays, as did left fielder Carl Crawford, his second of the series.[71]

Game 5

Team123456789RHE
Tampa Bay0001011003100
Philadelphia20000110x481
Starting pitchers:
TB: Kazmir (01)
PHI: Hamels (10)
WP: Romero (20)   LP: Howell (02)   Sv: Lidge (2)
Home runs:
TB: Rocco Baldelli (1)
PHI: None

Philadelphia scored in the first inning for the third consecutive game, taking a 2–0 lead when Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz batted in Jayson Werth and Pat Burrell respectively. Tampa Bay cut the lead in half in the fourth inning; Carlos Peña doubled and was batted in on Evan Longoria's single, both players' first hits of the Series. The Rays then tied the game in the sixth inning when B. J. Upton scored from second base on a Peña single.[72] The game was suspended after the top of the sixth inning due to rain, making it the first game in World Series history to not be played through to completion or declared a tie.[73]

After the game was suspended, home plate umpire Tim Tschida told reporters that he and his crew ordered the players off the field because the wind and rain threatened to make the game "comical".[74] Chase Utley agreed, saying that by the middle of the sixth inning, "the infield was basically underwater."[74] Rain continued to fall in Philadelphia on Tuesday, further postponing the game to Wednesday.

Under normal conditions, games are considered to be official games after five innings, or four and a half if the home team is leading at that point.[75] However, both Rays and Phillies management knew before the first pitch that Commissioner Bud Selig, who is responsible for the scheduling of post-season games, would not allow a team to clinch the Series by winning a rain-shortened game.[73][76] Thus, the game resumed on October 29 in the middle of the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park,[77] with the Phillies batting in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pinch hitter Geoff Jenkins led off with a double and was bunted to third by Rollins. Batting third, Jayson Werth batted in Jenkins to give the Phillies the lead, 3–2. Rocco Baldelli re-tied the game at three runs with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning, but Jason Bartlett was thrown out at home to end the inning on a fake throw-over by Utley, who could not get the ball to first in time to catch the speedy Akinori Iwamura. In the bottom of the seventh, Pat Burrell led off with a double; Eric Bruntlett entered as a pinch runner and scored on a hit by Pedro Feliz to put the Phillies up by a run again. Brad Lidge gave up a single and a stolen base but struck out Eric Hinske for the final out, sealing the Phillies' first World Series championship since the 1980 World Series, and the city's first major sports championship in 25 years.[72]

Breaking the curse

The alleged curse of Billy Penn was sometimes used to explain the failure of professional sports teams based in Philadelphia to win championships. In March 1987, One Liberty Place, a 945-foot (288 m) tall skyscraper, opened three blocks from the 548 ft (167 m) high statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall.[78] For many decades, a gentlemen's agreement stated that the Philadelphia Art Commission would approve no building in the city that would rise above this statue. The supposed curse had gained such prominence in Philadelphia that a documentary film entitled The Curse of William Penn was produced about it.[79]

The curse ended on October 29, 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series, a year and four months after a statuette of the William Penn figure atop City Hall was affixed to the final beam put in place during the June 2007 topping-off of the Comcast Center, then the tallest building in the city.[80]

Awards

The 2008 team won the Commissioner's Trophy for its World Series title[81][82][83] and the Warren C. Giles Trophy as National League champions. It was also named "Team of the Year" by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association and received the Pride of Philadelphia Award from the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009, the Philadelphia Sports Congress presented the team with the John Wanamaker Athletic Award.[84][85][86][87] In May 2009, the team was recognized at the White House.[88]

Starter Cole Hamels received the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. He also received the Babe Ruth Award from the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).

Closer Brad Lidge was named the Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year[89] and the DHL Delivery Man of the Year[90] for his perfect 48-for-48 performance throughout the 2008 regular season and postseason. He also received the Rolaids NL Relief Man Award, the Sporting News NL Reliever of the Year Award, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association (PSWA) Outstanding Pro Athlete award, and the Daily News Sportsperson of the Year award.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and center fielder Shane Victorino were honored by Rawlings with Gold Gloves, honoring their defense in 2008.[91] Rollins also received the Fielding Bible Award for shortstop. Rollins posted a fielding percentage of .988, compiling 193 putouts and 393 assists while making only seven errors;[92] Victorino's fielding percentage was even higher, at .994, notching 7 assists from the outfield along with 328 putouts.[93]

Clean-up hitter and first baseman Ryan Howard was named the recipient of the Babe Ruth Home Run Award (in MLB) and the Negro Baseball League Museum's Josh Gibson Legacy Award, as the NL leader in home runs. Howard hit 48 home runs in 2008, more than any other player in the National League. Howard also batted in 146 runs, and finished the regular season with 11 homers and 32 RBIs during September.[94][95] Second baseman Chase Utley also won his third consecutive Silver Slugger Award, given annually to the best hitter in each league at his position.[96]

Four of the This Year in Baseball Awards also went to the Phillies. Lidge was recognized as the Closer of the Year,[97] while Utley won the Postseason Moment of the Year award for his fake throw to first base which allowed him to throw out Rays' shortstop Jason Bartlett at home plate during the World Series.[98] Manager Charlie Manuel and general manager Pat Gillick were also named Manager of the Year (distinct from Major League Baseball's Manager of the Year award) and Executive of the Year, respectively, for their leadership of the 2008 team and for winning the World Series.[99]

The Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) presented its annual franchise awards to Brad Lidge ("Mike Schmidt Most Valuable Player Award"), Cole Hamels ("Steve Carlton Most Valuable Pitcher Award"), Jamie Moyer ("Dallas Green Special Achievement Award"), and Greg Dobbs ("Tug McGraw Good Guy Award").[100]

Shane Victorino also received the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for displaying character and integrity both on and off the field.[101][102]

Pat Gillick also received the ceremonial title of King of Baseball from Minor League Baseball, in recognition of longtime dedication and service to professional baseball.

Regular season player statistics

All statistics are current through the 2008 regular season.[56]

Key

Statistic Indicates team leader in this category among batters (player must qualify by MLB rules to lead a category)
Statistic§ Indicates team leader in this category among starting pitchers (player must qualify by MLB rules to lead a category)
Statistic Indicates team leader in this category among relief pitchers (player must qualify by MLB rules to lead a category)
* Indicates that two or more players tied for the lead in the category

Batting

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; AVG = Batting average; SB = Stolen bases

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG SB
Joe Blanton1316010001.0630
T. J. Bohn145121003.4000
Eric Bruntlett120212374691215.2179
Pat Burrell157536741343333386.2500
Mike Cervenak1013020001.1540
Clay Condrey553111000.3330
Chris Coste982742872170936.2620
Greg Dobbs1282263068141940.3013
Chad Durbin699010000.1110
Adam Eaton2228152001.1790
Pedro Feliz133425431061921458.2490
Greg Golson66200000.0001
Cole Hamels35763172003.2240
J. A. Happ87000000.0000
Brad Harman610111001.1000
Ryan Howard16261010515326448146.2511
Tadahito Iguchi47021000.2860
Geoff Jenkins1152932772160929.2461
Kyle Kendrick3150351002.1000
Ryan Madson732000000.0000
Lou Marson14220122.5000
Jamie Moyer3151441001.0780
Brett Myers3058341001.0690
Jimmy Rollins137556761543891159.27747
Carlos Ruiz1173204770140431.2191
Chris Snelling44121011.5000
Matt Stairs1617451025.2940
R. J. Swindle32000001.0000
So Taguchi889118205109.2203
Andy Tracy42000001.0000
Chase Utley15960711317741433104.29214
Shane Victorino1465701021673081458.29336
Les Walrond61000000.0000
Jayson Werth134418731141632467.27320
Totals1625509799140729136214762.255136

Pitching

Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = Strikeouts

Player W L ERA G GS SV IP R ER BB K
Joe Blanton404.201313070⅔36333149
Andrew Carpenter000.0010010011
Clay Condrey34*3.2652016926251934
Chad Durbin5*4*2.87710187⅔3328*3563
Adam Eaton485.802119010771694457
Scott Eyre301.88190014⅓33318
Tom Gordon5*4*5.16340229⅔19171726
Cole Hamels14103.09§33*33*0227⅓§897853196§
J. A. Happ103.6984031⅔24171426
Kyle Kendrick1195.4930300155⅔103*955768
Brad Lidge201.957204169⅓17153592
Ryan Madson423.05760170⅔2928*2367
Jamie Moyer16§73.7133*33*0196⅓858162123
Brett Myers1013§4.5530300190103*96§65§163
J. C. Romero44*2.7581015918183852
Rudy Seánez5*4*3.53420043⅓24172530
R. J. Swindle007.713004⅔4424
Les Walrond116.1060010⅓77912
Totals92703.89162162471449⅔6806275331081

Footnotes

  • a Jamie Moyer became the sixth pitcher in history to defeat every team in Major League Baseball with this 205 win over the Rockies.[29] Also, the Phillies won back-to-back games by more than 10 runs for the third time in their history.
  • b Chase Utley tied a franchise record by hitting a home run in his fifth straight game.[29]
  • c Utley, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the first inning. The Phillies' 20 runs were the most ever scored in a game at Busch Stadium III.[103] The Phillies sent 15 batters to the plate in a nine-run fourth inning, and every Phillies starter, as well as pinch-hitter Eric Bruntlett, reached base at least once in the game, with only pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs being denied.[104]
  • d With a pinch-hit three-run home run in the fifth inning, Greg Dobbs tied a Phillies' franchise record with his twentieth pinch-hit of the season, tying Doc Miller. The home run turned out to be the game-winning RBI, as the Phillies overcame a nine-run Atlanta fourth inning with a seven-run fifth of their own.[105]

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs International League Dave Huppert
AA Reading Phillies Eastern League P. J. Forbes
A Clearwater Threshers Florida State League Razor Shines
A Lakewood BlueClaws South Atlantic League Steve Roadcap
A-Short Season Williamsport Crosscutters New York–Penn League Dusty Wathan
Rookie GCL Phillies Gulf Coast League Roly de Armas

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: GCL Phillies

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Further reading
  • Stark, Jayson (2009). Worth the Wait: Tales of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN 978-1-60078-273-2. 
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