The conclusion of the 2012 baseball season saw the Philadelphia Phillies’ streak of five consecutive division titles end at the hands of the Washington Nationals, who won 98 games and finished as the top team in the National League.
With the end of the year came an opportunity for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins to take a shot at the Nationals.
“They had a good year,” Rollins said. “They’re a talented team. It’s all come together for them and that’s great for them.”
“With us healthy, they’re a second-place team,” Rollins said. “But we weren’t.”
“I think that’s a fact. We were 14 games under .500 and we got our lineup back for the most part and we played 14 games over .500 after that. That’s a positive sign. We just got so far back that 14 over only got us to .500.”
I agree with Rollins that the Phillies would have been a much better team if they had been healthy throughout the season.
First baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley both missed significant portions of the season with injuries. So did catcher Carlos Ruiz, third baseman Placido Polanco, and ace Roy Halladay.
But you know who else had players miss time with injuries?
The Nationals had first baseman Michael Morse and outfielder Jayson Werth miss a significant portion of the season with injuries. Their ace, Stephen Strasburg, was limited by anywhere from 50 to 75 innings dur to his recovery from Tommy John surgery (and he won’t even get to pitch in the postseason).
The St. Louis Cardinals had ace Adam Wainwright miss the entire season with an injury, yet they went onto win the World Series.
So don’t tell me that injuries are the reason the Phillies missed the postseason.
The Phillies missed the playoffs because they didn’t have a good bullpen. They didn’t have good depth to fill in when their starters went down. And quite simply, they didn’t seem to have the same hart that they had when they reeled off their streak of five straight division titles.
It was Rollins who started that reign of division titles by boldly proclaiming that the Phillies were the team to beat in the National League East before the 2007 season. This comment was an obvious jab at the New York Mets, who had won 97 games and came within one run of the World Series in 2006.
I had no problem with Rollins making that comment because it gave the Phillies something to shoot for. I truly believe that the franchise wouldn’t have won the division in 2007 (and possibly the World Series in 2008) if Rollins hadn’t sparked his teammates.
But I do have an issue with his comments this season. That’s not how it should be. You don’t take a shot at a rival who easily wins the division by stating that your team would have won more games if you stayed healthy. That’s just poor sportsmanship.
Unfortunately for Phillies fans, that’s just how Rollins is. He’s always going to be talking, win or lose.