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Time to Put the Swagger on the Shelf and Win.

Dec 6, 2006, 6:21 PM EDT

Phillies fans entered this season with high hopes for their team, and with good reason. A decent team last year added  a proven starter and an improvement to the back of the rotation. The roster screamed contender, and we expected nothing less than the playoffs. When Jimmy Rollins called the Phillies the team to beat, we cheered his cocksure swagger, even if we had our doubts (when don’t we?). Then the team responded by having one of the worst Aprils in the majors, and for most of the season, the Phils and their fans were ridiculed for being so certain, then falling so flat.

But little by little, the Phils inched into Wild Card contention, and toward the end of the season got hot at just the right time. The soul-less Mets started to freefall, and support continued to strengthen behind the come-from-behind, against-all-odds team. It was a great day in Phillies history when they won the division at home in front of a wild crowd. At the pep rally on Monday, we cheered as JRoll and the Phils once again crowned themselves the team to beat. Unfortunately, just like the last time that happened, they’re getting their asses kicked.

I in no way intend this to bash Jimmy, who continues to man up and play like an MVP. JRoll is class, character, smarts, and talent personified. I just hope that being down 2 games in a best of 5 will remind the Phillies that they play better when the odds against them—that when everyone expects them to lose, they go on a tear. They did it in those sweeps of the Mets, and their push down the stretch this season erased what everyone considered an insurmountable deficit. Almost like the challenge they’re facing now. No one expects the Phillies to win this series, and I hope they respond just like they have all season.

Jamie Moyer spots Ubaldo Jimenez 21 years tonight. I think Moyer, who always shows confidence but never swagger, is the perfect guy to lead the Phillies onto the field with the season on the line.

UPDATE: The Rain gods are showing their support for the Phillies, shutting the lights at Coors down for a while.