September 14, 2007…..a day that changed Philadelphia Phillies history. Entering that fateful day, the NL East leading Mets were seven games up on the Phillies, who were heavily favored to win the NL East and were dubbed as “the team to beat in the NL East” by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. On this day, the Mets began an epic collapse,( that eventually gave the Phils the East) with a 3-2 loss to the Phils. Over the next 16 games the Phillies went 12-4, while the Mets blew a major division lead behind a horrible 5-11 record. That was the start of the most exciting period of Phillies baseball in franchise history.
With their newly won NL East crown, the Phillies rode major momentum into Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies. That’s where we met a buzzsaw, losing 3 games to 1 to the eventual National League champs. Despite the lack of playoff success that year, the Phillies fan base knew bigger things were on the horizon. Just not sure of how big though. Entering the 2008 season, the Phillies-Mets rivalry was at another all-time high. Mets Outfielder Carlos Beltran had declared the Mets “the team to beat in the entire NL” that season. The Mets were in a similar position entering the final 17 games of the 08′ season, up 3 1/2 games on the Phillies. Yet, they neglected to hold that lead, once again giving their enemies down I-95 a division title to celebrate. Little did Met fans know what that was going to do.
With the Phillies riding a 13-3 record in their final 16 to back to back NL East titles, they once again entered the playoffs with red-hot momentum. This time, things would turn out differently, as the Phillies went on to bring home the first World Series championship this city had seen since 1980. They made quick work, going 11-3 in the postseason, breezing their way to the world title. As one can imagine, this just added fuel to the fire of the Phillies-Mets rivalry.
Following a surprising World Title victory, the Phillies coasted to 3 years of regular season dominance, yet 3 years of postseason decline. The trade deadline of 2009 saw the Phillies take a major step forward and acquire ace Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians for prospects. Behind Lee’s arm, the Phils once again reached the Fall Classic, this time losing to the Yankees in 6 games. That following offseason, the Phils swapped one ace for another by dealing Cliff Lee in a three-team trade that netted them longtime Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay.
The following season, the Phils netted the best record in all of baseball behind the arms of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and mid-season acquisition Roy Oswalt. During the offseason, the Phils brought back Cliff Lee, after emerging as a late mystery team. This gave them arguably the best rotation in baseball, entering the 2011 season. Going into the 2011 season, the Phils expectations were high. Those same expectations grew even higher due to the acquisition of Hunter Pence. Once again, the Phillies had the fans buying into the hype, only to come up short in the NLDS to eventual champions; the St.Louis Cardinals. Entering the offseason, the Phillies faced a large amount of problems, including the losses of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to injury, and the uncertainty of Ryan Madson’s skill as closer. The latter of the two was solved with the pinstripes signing of Jonathan Papelbon, the highly coveted closer from the Boston Red Sox.