It’s bad enough that the Philadelphia Phillies entered 2012 amid expectations that they could bring home a world championship, and instead they staggered to an 81-81 record and a third place finish in the NL East.
Earlier today, Jimmy Rollins informed the media that the Phillies would definitely have won the division over the Washington Nationals had they not been hurt.
The Phillies did suffer an absurd amount of injuries – Ryan Howard and Chase Utley collectively missed about a season’s worth of games in all, Roy Halladay had a lat strain that sidelined him for a few months, Cliff Lee had a stint on the DL, Carlos Ruiz missed over a month, Vance Worley ended the year on the disabled list after bone spurs in his elbow made pitching almost unbearable, and Placido Polanco couldn’t stay off the disabled list to save his life.
And that doesn’t even include the injuries to the bullpen, notably Michael Stutes, David Herndon, Jose Contreras, and Justin De Fratus.
But it’s not as if the Nationals didn’t go through any injuries themselves. Jayson Werth broke his hand and missed a few months. Drew Storen didn’t pitch until the middle of July. Michael Morse missed one-third of the season. Wilson Ramos missed almost the whole year, and Ian Desmond missed over 30 games.
All teams go through injuries, and the Phillies just had an uncharacteristically high number of them. The injuries in no way helped but it wouldn’t even close have been enough to make up for finishing 17 games behind the Nationals.
The real problem was the guys that did play – Howard was awful when he played, Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence showed big signs of regression, Polanco put up a slugging percentage in the Wilson Valdez range, Halladay wasn’t himself, and the bullpen as a whole had many growing pains.
The Phillies were just an average team in 2012. That doesn’t mean they won’t be good in 2013 – they’ll almost assuredly make at least a strong run at the division. But for now, the Nationals were better and the mature thing might be for Rollins to keep his mouth shut and simply focus on being the best ballplayer he can be next year and helping the Phillies as a team rebound.