Late Saturday afternoon, Jamie Moyer (formerly known as "the Ancient Mariner" when he pitched for Seattle) started for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Washington Nationals. This was the game of the season for the Phils, because winning it clinched the NL East Division Championship. Moyer once again came through with a masterful well-pitched game; his vast experience helped him to ignore the high pressure of trying to win the "Clincher" for his team. He brought his season record to 16 - 7, and tied a record for the most victories EVER by a 45-year-old major leaguer.
I really enjoy seeing him compete because he is defying the odds just by remaining an active player in the big leagues. He led the Phillies staff in wins this year, too (makes older guys like me feel good to see that experience does count for something!).
The Phillies did manage to keep our hearts racing by letting the Nationals back into the game after Charley "Hook" Manuel removed Moyer from the game. Ryan Madson allowed one run in the eighth (might have been worse if not for a good catch by Jimmy Rollins, who then collided with Shane Victorino). Then, kudos to Pedro Feliz for a clutch hit in the bottom of the eighth which gave the Phils a vital insurance run.
In the ninth, Brad Lidge was called upon (yet again!) and he was not at his best. The Nationals battled him, scoring their third run and then loading the bases with just one out. One of their most talented hitters, Zimmerman, was coming to the plate. He hit a hard shot up the middle, and for a second I envisioned it going into centerfield for a two-run single. But WAIT - J Roll dove, snagged it, flipped it to Chase Utley who stepped on second and fired a high throw toward first base. Ryan Howard (known for his less-than-solid defensive prowess) used his height to full advantage, stretched his glove up high, and caught the ball before Zimmerman reached the bag! Just like that, Lidge had avoided his first blown save of the year, and the Phillies were the champs!
It was exciting to watch - Baseball Drama at its best - a 4 -3 victory. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the Phillies year to do what has only happened once before - achieve a World Series Championship. Phillies fans have been waiting since 1980 for this to happen (yeah, I know the Cubs fans have been waiting since 1945, tough toenails) and this years team has some real competitors. The playoffs should be very interesting - I can hardly wait for them to get underway...