Fittingly, Phillies Can Clinch Division in Houston

It's too bad that the Phillies aren't a little bit closer to clinching the division as their series with the Astros gets underway on Monday night.

With a magic number of six, the Phils will need a lot of help from the Marlins in order to secure the division title before they return home to Philadelphia on Thursday. Sweeping the Astros only gets the Phils halfway home, they need the Marlins to sweep the Braves and that's not a particularly likely outcome.

This might not seem like such a big problem. The Phils are home for 10 games after leaving Houston and it's always nice to have these kinds of celebrations on the home field. And it isn't a big problem. Where you clinch matters a lot less than the fact that you clinch.

For those of us who like the narrative side of things, though, there's something pretty sweet about the idea that the Phillies would wind up punching their ticket in Houston.

Since Ed Wade, the former Phillies GM who was fired in 2005, took over the Astros in 2007, he's turned the team into the closest modern day equivalent of the Kansas City A's. Back in the 50s, the A's used to develop good players and then ship them to the Yankees on an almost annual basis. Those players -- Roger Maris, Bobby Shantz, Ralph Terry -- would help the Yankees win pennants and World Series rings while the A's lost and lost with the players they got in return.

Sounds kinda familiar, no? Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence will all be in Houston this week as living, breathing reminders that this isn't only a relic of the past. The Phillies might have sent the Astros better players than the Yankees used to ship out to Kansas City, but the results have been pretty much the same. The Phillies keep winning and winning while Houston fades into the irrelevant world of baseball's also-rans.

The Astros are in the process of being sold and they are likely moving to the American League as well. Wade will almost certainly be gone and there's not much chance that the next guy in the job will be as partial to sending players to the Phillies as their former general manager.

What better way to commemorate this era then to share the sight of a championship with the suffering fans of Houston? One last tip of the cap to the help provided by Wade and the Astros to this run of Phillies success before it ends and the playing field levels back out sounds like a grand idea.

If only the Marlins were as helpful as the Astros.

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