Philadelphia Phillies First to Clinch Playoff Spot

The Philadelphia Phillies became the first team in Major League Baseball to punch their ticket for the 2011 postseason.  By shutting out the Houston Astros 1-0 Wednesday, the Phillies clinched a spot in the playoffs.

It felt only right that the Phillies would secure their spot with Roy Halladay on the mound.  Of course, you might be able to say the same if it were Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels.

As they’ve done all season, the Phillies leaned on their ridiculous pitching staff to come away with the win.  Halladay logged his 8th complete game and first shutout of the year, allowing 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.  None of the hits against Halladay went for extra bases.

Philadelphia got on the board early.  Shane Victorino took the second pitch he saw from Astros starter Bud Norris deep to center for a double.  Placido Polanco followed up with an RBI single.

The lone run proved all the support Halladay would need.  Doc was spectacular, notching his 18th win of the season in convincing fashion.

The win actually allowed Philadelphia to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Astros.  But before this small hiccup, the Phillies had been on some kind of roll.  After their series with the Brewers wrapped up this weekend, the Phillies had taken back to back sets against playoff hopefuls Milwaukee and Atlanta, winning 11 of their last 14 games.

Philadelphia’s pitching continues to lead the Majors, as the staff has the league’s best ERA and WHIP.

But Phillies starters have separated themselves from the rest of the league to an even greater extent.  On the season, Philadelphia’s starting pitching has the lowest ERA, the most complete games and shutouts, the least amount of walks and the most strikeouts in all of Major League Baseball.

The rotation alone has combined to win more games (71) than 12 teams in baseball.

Philadelphia’s next goal will be clinching the National League East.  As they prepare for their double header with the Florida Marlins today, the Phillies are sitting with a magic number of only 4.

For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Balls Outta Here.

Tags: Bud Norris Cliff Lee Cole Hamels MLB NL East NL West Philadelphia Phillies Placido Polanco Playoffs Roy Halladay Shane Victorino

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