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Phils the team to beat?

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PHILADELPHIA -- Hitting streaks, individual accomplishments and personal records don't mean that much to Jimmy Rollins right now. Someday, when he's retired, he'll look back on his accolades and reflect appropriately.
What has eluded Rollins, and his Phillies teammates, is the chance to perform in the postseason. But that could all change this year, if the veteran shortstop has his way.

"I think we're the team to beat in the NL East -- finally," Rollins said during the Phillies' Winter Tour on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. "But that's all on paper. You have to go out and do it on the field."

Rollins entered the 2006 season with a 36-game hitting streak, which ended at 38. But Phils fans took notice of Rollins' pursuit of Joe DiMaggio's Major League record 56-game hitting streak.

When the season concluded, Rollins became just the second player in Major League history to record at least 40 doubles, 25 home runs, 120 runs and 35 stolen bases in the same season. The only other player to accomplish this feat was Alfonso Soriano in '02. Rollins' 25 homers and 127 runs scored set Phillies' single-season records for shortstops.

When it was over, Rollins was left to clean out his locker and ponder another season of missed opportunities. The Phillies haven't advanced to the postseason since 1993.

"I wasn't that bitter watching the playoffs and World Series last year," Rollins said. "The year before, I was more bitter. You know, for the first time since I've been here, I can actually say that I expect us to go to the playoffs. I think we have the pitching to get us there. Our offensive production the last couple of years has been great.

"We've gotten off to slow starts the last couple of years. It's tough playing behind, 6-0, in the third inning every day. This year, I think things are going to be a whole lot different."

With Ryan Howard at first base, Chase Utley at second base, Rollins at shortstop and Wes Helms at third base, does this translate into the best infield in the National League?

"I would say so," said Rollins, who is signed through 2010 with a club option for 2011. "The offensive numbers speak for themselves. Wes Helms is a good addition. He's a tough out. He's a competitor."

So is Rollins.

The 28-year-old became the third Phillie since 1900 to score at least 100 runs in three straight seasons, joining Bobby Abreu (1999-2002) and Chuck Klein (1929-33). Even though Rollins has been criticized for not being the prototypical leadoff hitter, he has managed to score runs in bunches.

"I think that Jimmy has become a much smarter hitter over the past few years," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think as he's gotten older, he's now understanding hitting better. He makes things happen up there. He starts things off for us. When he does come up with guys on base, he can drive them in, too. That's a positive, if you ask me."

Rollins says he's healthy and slimmer than he has been thanks to a healthy diet and a gymnasium that was placed in his basement.

"I've been running on the treadmill, lifting, getting my legs stronger and watching what I eat," Rollins said. "I'm not eating everything in sight like I used to. I don't have to take off the extra 10 pounds like I used to. I feel ready to go."

Rollins was ready to go in the offseason, launching Rollins Entertainment, a music company in which he's the CEO and executive producer on various projects. While he's passionate about music, he's even more passionate about winning a championship.

"I've never played in the playoffs," Rollins said. "I want to experience what it's like to play in October. I think we have the pitching and the offense to do it. All the records and other stuff will be even sweeter with a World Series ring."

Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article...6&fext=.jsp
 

CYmarlins

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lmao oooookkk JROLL and once again the Phillies will fall short AGAIN
 

Eddie Altamonte

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I like their lineup...starting rotation no so much. They will win some games, so will our Marlins. I believe our Marlins can take em!
 

catchoftheday

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with the mets rotation still in limbo I would have to agree with Jimmy Rollins here.
 

Das Texan

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they are the team to beat.


it isnt the braves.

it isnt the marlins.

it sure as hell isnt the nats...

the mets have no pitching to speak of.

by default they are hte best in the divison today.


right now I'd rank em...

phillies
mets
braves/marlins
nats
 

Jimmy42Jack0

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the phils pitching is a joke...when they find out how to win games with something other than a score of 10-9 then they will really be competing for something
 

Das Texan

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the phils pitching is a joke...when they find out how to win games with something other than a score of 10-9 then they will really be competing for something


umm...

freddy garcia
cole hamels
brett myers
jaime moyer
aaron eaton
jon lieber


seems fairly solid to me.
 

Mauer7

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it sure as hell isnt the nats...
thanks for clearing that up :thumbup . jk.

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The phils are definetly the team to beat. I don't think they're that great of a team overall, they're decent. Howard, Utley, and Rollins (in that order) will have to carry that team. They need pitching so badly, they should of pursued Zito harder. They're close to being a playoff team, they need bullpen help (who doesn't?), and a better "ace" than Brett Myers.
 

Beinfest4Prez

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the phils pitching is a joke...when they find out how to win games with something other than a score of 10-9 then they will really be competing for something


umm...

freddy garcia
cole hamels
brett myers
jaime moyer
aaron eaton
jon lieber


seems fairly solid to me.
Freddy Garcia and Jon Lieber are the only ones who do scare me on the Phils. Cole Hamels is scary if he doesn't continue to be made of glass. Jamie Moyer is a fossil and it stands to reason that soon enough he'll just lose the ability to pitch at the major league level in a bandbox of park. Myers and Eaton are solid.
 
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For the record "DasTexan".....

Its Adam Eaton

And for the other record, the Phils are the team to beat this year.

Mets wont have pitching till the 2nd half of the season, and by that time it might be to late

Phils have a solid lineup, and pitching is okay, but thats all it takes to win the NLE anyway.

Marlins wont have a repeat of last year, as much as we all want it to happen.

Nationals arent even in the league are they?

Braves run is over and they are re-building, so they wont be there
 

Das Texan

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For the record "DasTexan".....

Its Adam Eaton

And for the other record, the Phils are the team to beat this year.

Mets wont have pitching till the 2nd half of the season, and by that time it might be to late

Phils have a solid lineup, and pitching is okay, but thats all it takes to win the NLE anyway.

Marlins wont have a repeat of last year, as much as we all want it to happen.

Nationals arent even in the league are they?

Braves run is over and they are re-building, so they wont be there

ya fruedian slip on eaton.

There is no guarantee Pedro comes back to his old level at this point. If the Mets are counting on that, they are full of it. The Phillies are easily at this point the class of the division.
 

Jimmy42Jack0

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Marlins wont have a repeat of last year, as much as we all want it to happen.
yeah...i dont think we will get off to an 11-39 start either...call me crazy...but i think the marlins have as good of a shot as anyone...
 

PBCMarlinsFan

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The Phillies have a lot more to prove before I call them the team to beat. There is a good chance Garcia and Eaton get lit up next season in the Philly bandbox and you gotta wonder how much longer Moyer will have big league stuff. There are also major injury concerns with Eaton and Hamels, who made a huge IP jump in 2006. I don't expect Lieber to improve much from his mediocre 2006. Still, I expect them to be more competitive in 2007. Just not the team to beat yet. The Mets are the team to beat.
 

Out of the Past

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The Phillies have a lot more to prove before I call them the team to beat. There is a good chance Garcia and Eaton get lit up next season in the Philly bandbox and you gotta wonder how much longer Moyer will have big league stuff. There are also major injury concerns with Eaton and Hamels, who made a huge IP jump in 2006. I don't expect Lieber to improve much from his mediocre 2006. Still, I expect them to be more competitive in 2007. Just not the team to beat yet. The Mets are the team to beat.
I also think the Mets are the team to beat but the Phillies are right behind them and should be the favorite for the WC. Your concerns about their rotation are valid ones however even with those concerns their '07 rotation is hands down better than their '06 rotation. I mean I would take Garcia, Eaton and Moyer over Madson, Wolfe and Floyd.
 

Iowa

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Of course they are the team to beat.. they're the only ones who improved themselves within the division.

Mets rotation is one of the worst on a "team to beat" I've seen in a loooooong time. They could finish 4th
 

Mets_bs

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The Mets rotation that will be starting the season is, for the most part, the same rotation that won the bulk of 97 games last season. The Mets bullpen is very strong, their bench is very strong, and their line-up may be the best in NL East. THe Phillies have to beat the Mets first.

On Edit:
And I realy don't understand how everyone can look statistically at both rotations and claim that the Phillies' is that much better. Jamie Moyer and El Duque are washes. Same with Myers and Maine. Perez and Eaton is at best a puch for the Phillies. Humber/Pelfrey and Hamels gives a slight edge to Phils, but both hae very good promise. That leave Glavine and Garcia -- and that's really hard to call. Garcia hasn't pitched well and Glavine is getting older. It really is quite close.
 

prinmemito

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Hamels is much better than the two you compare him too, as long as he stays healthy. Perez has more potential, but I think I would take Eaton over him at this point. But it's close. I also think Moyer is better than El Duque.
 

Hammerhead

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the phils pitching is a joke...when they find out how to win games with something other than a score of 10-9 then they will really be competing for something


umm...

freddy garcia
cole hamels
brett myers
jaime moyer
aaron eaton
jon lieber


seems fairly solid to me.
Granted he didn't live up to his hype last year, I actually think this guy could surprise people this year. Still, that rotation is horrible.
 

Mets_bs

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Hamels is much better than the two you compare him too, as long as he stays healthy. Perez has more potential, but I think I would take Eaton over him at this point. But it's close. I also think Moyer is better than El Duque.

Considering his injury history, that's a big IF. It's hard to compare them as all 3 are great prospects and the Mets duo have little MLB experience.
 

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