HOUSTON -- There were no wild celebrations; no dog piles on the field, no flowing of champagne, no media equipment covered in protective plastic. That the Phillies clinched a fifth consecutive playoff appearance on Wednesday was no cause for extraordinary merriment in the postgame clubhouse.
The Phillies don't pop their corks at merely clinching a playoff spot. Having been there before -- and with much bigger goals and expectations -- it was more a business-as-usual atmosphere that greeted the media in the aftermath of the Phillies' 1-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
"The important thing is to get the home-field advantage," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I feel good about [the fifth consecutive playoff appearance]. I feel good about the players and the organization."
|2009||Yankees||9/22||Won World Series|
|2007||Red Sox||9/22||Won World Series|
|2006||Mets||9/18||Lost World Series|
|2004||Cardinals||9/18||Lost World Series|
|1998||Yankees||8/30||Won World Series|
|1995||Indians||9/8||Lost World Series|
"I know we're excited to get to the postseason, but at the same time we've got a bunch of teams still breathing down our necks," pitcher Cole Hamels added in reference to the prospects of winning a fifth consecutive National League East title.
"It's not said and done until it's said and done. We've got a lot of games and we just have to play at our best. It's not going to be easy."
The magic number is down to four for reaching that goal. And then the bubbly will spray and the Phillies can begin to think about a second World Series championship in four seasons.
Philadelphia is the first team to have punched its ticket to October, and that impressed center fielder Shane Victorino.
"That's a testament to the team, it's a testament to how hard we've worked and how far we've come," Victorino said. "We've got to keep working. We can't get complacent. We plan on going deep into October."
First baseman Ryan Howard reiterated that clinching a playoff spot is only the first step.
"We haven't done anything by clinching a playoff spot," Howard said. "We just gave ourselves an opportunity to reach that team goal. You try to take it step by step. You don't want to go and overly celebrate because we clinched a playoff spot. This is just a part of the goal."
Still, it is an exciting time for the Phillies organization.
"I'm excited about it," said Roy Halladay, who fired his first shutout of the season on Wednesday. "The important thing is to finish what we have left and go from there."
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.