Maybe Shane Victorino's best ability is to fit in. He, after all, was the one who replaced Bobby Abreu in right field. Then, he succeeded Aaron Rowand in center following the 2007 season, when the Phillies played their first playoff games in 14 years.

"I never looked at it that way," Victorino said.

No, but Victorino's precipitous rise is not lost on the always talkative centerfielder. Twice selected in the Rule 5 draft, he has started 33 straight postseason games. In that span, he's hitting .276 with six home runs and 26 RBIs. He made his mark during the first two rounds of the playoffs in 2009 by hitting .361.

He became more than a replacement.

"I didn't say, 'I better not suck,' " Victorino said. "I said, 'Keep doing what you're doing and do your best.' I'm not adding pressure to myself.

"No one takes it for granted. But for a person like myself, who had to really work to get there. . . . The mosh pit is here . . . ."

All of a sudden, Victorino sticks his hand out. Then he raises it a few inches.

"You're here," he said. "You're on the verge of falling back in. That's what continues the drive. It drives you to be who you are."

And the coincidence that Rowand will be in the opposing dugout for this series takes everything full circle. On the Phillies, Victorino is just one piece, content with being just one of the many contributors for an offense that has dominated in October so many times. Rowand left Philadelphia to sign a five-year, $60 million contract with the Giants. Immediately, his role and expectations were heightened.

The Phillies let Rowand go because they had confidence in Victorino and Jayson Werth. Rowand followed the money to San Francisco. This season, he hit just .230 and played in only 105 games.

"You take Aaron, on a team like this, he's going to shine," Victorino said. "He's a good player and sort of being overlooked. On a team like that, he's the guy people go after. He signed a big contract. I feel bad for Aaron sometimes because this poor guy had a lot put on his plate."

Victorino will turn 30 at the end of November, and he finds himself in a situation he could have never imagined upon taking over for Rowand. In 2005, Los Angeles declined to pay $25,000 to take Victorino back after the Rule 5 draft. This past off-season, he signed a three-year, $22 million deal.

On this team, he's become the leadoff hitter because of constant injuries to shortstop Jimmy Rollins that have caused his inconsistency at the plate. Victorino was not immune to the struggles most of the Phillies faced during the season. His .259 batting average was 25 points below his career average coming into 2010. His home runs were up, but his slugging percentage and runs scored dipped.

But in the postseason, Victorino has made a name for himself. It's a far cry from the beginning of the consecutive-games streak that began against Colorado in the 2007 National League division series.

"I was like a kid in a candy store," Victorino said. " 'Oh my God, we're here.' When it hit us, it was like, 'What happened?' "

Now, the Phillies are seasoned veterans in the postseason.

"That has a lot to do with our success - always being there," Victorino said.

Victorino has been a part of it the whole time. His best moment came in the 2008 division series when he smoked a grand slam off Milwaukee ace CC Sabathia in Game 2. A year later, he made the final out of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

But most of the memories have been positive. Eventually, the Phillies decided to make Victorino a permanent part of the core group.

"I want to be known," Victorino said, "as one of those guys who made history."

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb
at 215-854-2928 or Follow him on Twitter @magelb.