Halladay probably enjoyed this win more than usual.
It's become expected around Philadelphia over the past couple of seasons that the Phillies will win the NL East. Anything else is just not acceptable -- to the team or the fans. But for Roy Halladay, it's a brand new experience.
The pitcher that most consider the best in baseball will get his first opportunity to pitch in the postseason after pitching a two-hit shutout against the Washington Nationals that officially clinched the Phillies' fourth consecutive NL East title.
This is the coolest thing I've ever been a part of,'' Halladay said. "It's fun. It's great. It's everything that it is cracked up to be. The lineup scored runs and made it easy for me tonight.''
His 21st win and the impact it had might have also been enough to wrap up the NL's Cy Young award for Halladay. He's been absolutely spot on over the past month or so and, were it not for a huge funk for the offense, would have about 26-28 wins at this point.
"This is the place where we thought we'd be way back in February,'' said Jayson Werth, who made his presence felt alongside Halladay in the game that won the East with a home run and four RBIs. "But we still have a long way to go to where we want to get.''
Halladay, along with Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt make up the best pitching rotation heading into the postseason in either league, and with the bats finally moving at a pace acceptable for this team, the prospect of the Phils winning their second World Series title in three years is within reach.
The Phils will enjoy home-field advantage through the playoffs and, thanks to an All-Star game win for the NL -- coached by Charlie Manuel -- would get home-field advantage in the World Series as well should they get that far.