When the Nationals beat the Phillies on October 3 to clinch the N.L. East, Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins had a hard time congratulating the new champs. He said the only reason that Washington won was because the Phillies had so many injuries.
Rollins took a lot of heat for his statements, but according to CSNphilly.com he still strongly believes the Phillies are the best team in the division. Here is what he said at a charity event on Monday night:
"It still runs through Philly," he said. "[Washington] had one year to win it. It was just like when the Mets took it from Atlanta, it was still up for grabs. I'm sure Atlanta felt it was still theirs, but fortunately we were able to come in and take it the next five years."
"We were undermanned," Rollins said. "It was written -- you'd write the lineup every single day and we're undermanned against a lot of teams.
"As soon we got healthy, you start to see us turn back around and catch our rhythm."
Rollins was one of the only Phillies players to be healthy for the majority of the season. Philly saw significant time missed by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, and Carlos Ruiz. They finished 81-81, a full 17 games behind the Nationals in the division. Though they were injured, it wasn’t really close.
And Rollins’ assertion suggests the Nationals themselves were healthy. But the Nationals, in fact, had more starters lost to injuries. Wilson Ramos, Drew Storen, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Ian Desmond, and Jayson Werth all saw significant time on the disabled list. If the Nats were healthier they could have won even more than 98 games.
Rollins' comments provide a great offseason debate, but nothing can be settled until next season. The Nationals and Phillies first play on May 24.