For Phillies, 2008 had perfect ending

For Phillies, 2008 had perfect ending

PHILADELPHIA -- Confetti had to be scooped up on Broad Street and Toyota convertibles had to be borrowed for a World Series victory lap around Citizens Bank Park.

Yes, the 2008 season ended exactly as the Phillies desired, with a World Series parade.

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Manager Charlie Manuel got the ring in his 46th season of professional baseball. Pat Gillick spent his 27th year as a general manager tweaking his 11th playoff team -- in four different organizations -- and third World Series champion.

Among the players, Jamie Moyer waited 22 years to be part of a parade like the one he attended in 1980. Tom Gordon waited 20 and Rudy Seanez 16.

Closer Brad Lidge went 48-for-48 in save chances and struck out Eric Hinske to seal the title. Weighed down by the emotion of the moment, Lidge fell to his knees and waited to be mobbed by his teammates.

Geoff Jenkins joined the Phillies after 10 years of no playoff appearances with the Brewers and went all the way. Pat Burrell has spent all of his 8 1/2 seasons in Philadelphia and finally climbed the mountain. Ditto for Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Brett Myers and Ryan Madson.

Cole Hamels' career is still just beginning, but he's already secured World Series and National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player honors.

Yes, the Phillies had a great season with a perfect ending.

"We never gave up at any point," Shane Victorino said. "We always knew we could do this and we weren't going to stop. This was the goal all along and we were going to figure out a way to accomplish it."

The proof is in the parade.

Record: 92-70, first in the NL East. World Series champion.

Defining moment: On Sept. 14, Myers fired the 95th pitch of a complete-game two-hitter over Milwaukee, completing a rousing four-game sweep and erasing the lead of the NL Wild Card leader. It was the fourth victory of Philadelphia's season-high seven-game winning streak. Including those games and the postseason, the Phillies went 24-6 since Sept. 10.

What went right: Pitching. The Phillies rolled out a solid pitching staff, from Hamels to reliever Clay Condrey. Starters routinely went deep in games, allowing the bullpen to evolve and define roles in the innings leading to Lidge. On a team supposedly built on offense, the pitching carried the team for the majority of the season. Hamels and Moyer, who won 16 games, pitched consistently well from the start, and Myers recovered from a rough first half to dominate in the second half. Chad Durbin provided key relief in multiple roles, and midseason pickups Scott Eyre and Joe Blanton gave the team boosts in their respective areas.

What went wrong: While it's hard to find fault with a World Series champion, the team's offense was far more inconsistent than anyone would've have expected. Chase Utley and Burrell carried the club for the first two months, and Howard was huge in mid-August and September. Consistency was the problem. Much of the issue stemmed from Rollins' drop-off from his NL MVP season, and that trickled down through the lineup. No batter posted a career year, and that hampered the team's ability to get on a roll. As proficient as the team was at hitting home runs, they struggled to manufacture runs. Jenkins couldn't replace Aaron Rowand's offense, but his injury gave Jayson Werth the chance to establish himself as an everyday player. In the end, an offense that couldn't click found a way to get the big hits when necessary.

Biggest surprise: Though they hoped, the Phillies couldn't have expected Lidge to dominate in this fashion. He was largely responsible for Philadelphia's 76-0 record when leading after eight innings and was the team's Most Valuable Player in many respects. Lidge's performance allowed the rest of the 'pen to fall into place. Until the innings caught up to him, Durbin was huge in his first season as a full-time reliever. Moyer led the staff in wins, quite an accomplishment for a man approaching his 46th birthday.

2008 Phillies Regular Season Statistical leaders

Batting
Average: Shane Victorino, .293
Doubles: Chase Utley, 41
Triples: Jimmy Rollins, nine
Home runs: Ryan Howard, 48
Runs: Utley, 113
RBIs: Howard, 146
Stolen bases: Rollins, 47
Pitching
Wins: Jamie Moyer, 16
Losses: Brett Myers, 13
ERA (starter): Hamels, 3.09
ERA (reliever): Brad Lidge, 1.95
Saves: Lidge, 41

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.