Boo Him All You Want, Jimmy Rollins Has Heard Worse From His Mother

Boo Him All You Want, Jimmy Rollins Has Heard Worse From His Mother

There's been a barrage of articles written about Jimmy Rollins' production out of the leadoff spot as of late.
So if you've been watching and/or reading, then it should come as no surprise that Jimmy is off to a slow start in his 13th season with the Phils, the first since signing his latest contract with the club this offseason, one that will take him through 2014, if not 2015. The 33-year-old Rollins is batting just .242 with a .292 OBP. Granted, he has the remainder of the season to even out, but those would be the lowest totals of his major league career.
The Phils find themselves in the basement of the NL East, a position they haven't occupied since the much earlier years of Rollins' tenure, and the offense, like everything else, has been a point of concern at various periods. As Rollins has traditionally been the straw that stirs this team's drink, at the pace he was going, the boos were inevitable.
They became quite audible last night at CBP.
The Inqy's Bob Brookover has a piece on Philly.com detailing that slow starts aren't exactly out-of-character for J-Roll and that his second halves have typically been better than his firsts under manager Charlie Manuel.
But the quotes that caught our attention were Rollins' reaction to boos he heard on his way back to the dugout after a one-out pop-up in the third inning with a runner, Freddy Galvis, on second.
Quotes from Rollins on the jeers following the pop-up via Brookover:

"I could really care less, actually," Rollins said after the Phillies' 4-3 loss to the Dodgers pushed the team's record back to .500. "I was two millimeters away from enjoyment. I could really care less what they're doing. It doesn't bother me at all."

"When you come from a family that talks trash . . . you stay to the grind," Rollins said, recalling the days when his mother Gigi taunted him in competition. "I get it from her. It's psychological warfare from the beginning before anything happens.

"Now, she has you thinking. The more you think, the more pressure you're naturally going to put on yourself because you want to prove her wrong. OK, Gigi, do your thing? I used to practice in my room with my brother, so I've mastered psychological warfare."

Rollins also points out how he's faced criticism going all the way back to 2001 in regard to his plate approach and how he's proved doubters wrong in the past:

"I also heard we couldn't win a championship with me batting leadoff, and obviously that wasn't true, so who cares? It comes with the territory."

We should also mention how he smacked a triple in his next AB and, indeed, the couple millimeters difference did bring enjoyment to the crowd.
Heading back to the bit about his mother for a moment, this is the same woman who told her son she wanted him to raise his batting average as a Mother's Day present earlier this season. Of course, Jimmy just hit a home run for her instead.
Typical J-Roll.

Link:>>Inside the Phillies: Shortstop Jimmy Rollins needs his usual second half [INQ]

Phillie Phodder: Aaron Nola's health, Roman Quinn's status, closer job

Phillie Phodder: Aaron Nola's health, Roman Quinn's status, closer job

READING, Pa. — Perhaps the most important issue facing the Phillies as they get set to open spring training is the health of pitcher Aaron Nola.

It won’t be possible to fully gauge the right-hander’s condition until he starts firing pitches against hitters in a competitive situation in February and March.

But less than a month before camp opens, Nola is optimistic that the elbow problems that forced him to miss the final two months of the 2016 season are resolved.

“I feel like the injury is past me,” he said during a Phillies winter caravan stop sponsored by the Double A Reading Fightin Phils on Tuesday night. “I feel back to normal.

“My arm is all good. One-hundred percent.”

Nola, 23, did not pitch after July 28 last season after being diagnosed with a pair of injuries near his elbow — a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor tendon.

Nola and the team opted for a conservative treatment plan that included rest, rehab and a PRP injection. The pitcher spent much of the fall on a rehab program in Clearwater that included his throwing from a bullpen mound. He took a couple of months off and recently began throwing again near his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“All through the rehab, I had no pain,” Nola said. “Probably in the middle of the rehab, I started feeling really good. Towards the end, I started upping the intensity a little bit. I knew after I took two months off I was going to be good. I started back up, throwing after Christmas and it felt really good when I cranked up. I’ve been throwing for a few weeks now. No pain, no hesitation. Not any of it.”

The Phillies selected Nola with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft with the hopes that he would be a foundation piece in the rotation for many years. Nola ascended to the majors in the summer of 2015 and recorded a 3.12 ERA in his first 25 big-league starts before hitting severe turbulence last summer. He had a 9.82 ERA in his final eight starts of 2016 before injuring his elbow during his final start.

Nola said he would report to Clearwater on Feb. 1. He does not expect to have any limitations in camp.

Manager Pete Mackanin is eager to see what Nola looks like in Clearwater.

“There's a part of me that’s concerned,” Mackanin said. “When guys don't have surgery and they mend with just rest, that makes me a little nervous. I don't want that to crop up again because then you lose a couple years instead of one year. But I defer to the medical people and believe in what they say and how he feels.”

Mackanin said he expected Nola to be in the five-man rotation along with Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, Clay Buchholz and Vince Velasquez to open the season. Mackanin also mentioned Zach Eflin and others as being in the mix. The Phillies have some starting pitching depth and that’s a plus because pitchers' arms are fragile. Nola was the latest example of that last season. He said he’s healthy now, but he'll still be a center of attention in spring training.

More seasoning for Quinn
Mackanin acknowledged that the addition of veteran outfielder Michael Saunders probably means that Roman Quinn will open the season in Triple A.

“I don’t think it’s in our best interest or [Quinn’s] to be a part-time player at the big-league level, so I would think if things stay the way they are and if Saunders is on the team, I think it would behoove Quinn to play a full year of Triple A,” Mackanin said. “We have to find out if he can play 120 or 140 games, which he hasn’t done up to this point. We hope he can because, to me, he’s a potential game changer.”

Morgan to the bullpen?
Mackanin suggested that lefty Adam Morgan could be used as a reliever in camp. The Phillies have just one lefty reliever (Joely Rodriguez) on their 40-man roster. If Morgan pitches well out of the bullpen, he could be a candidate to make the club. Non-roster lefties Sean Burnett and Cesar Ramos could also be in the mix.

Another chance for Gomez
Jeanmar Gomez saved 37 games in 2016 before struggling down the stretch and losing the closer’s job. Hector Neris finished up in the role.

So how will competition for the job shake out in Clearwater?

“I wouldn’t say it’s wide open,” Mackanin said. “I’m going to give Gomez every opportunity to show that he’s the guy that pitched the first five months and not the guy that pitched in September.”

PFF ranks Eagles' front seven as the second best in NFL

PFF ranks Eagles' front seven as the second best in NFL

At times during the 2016 season, the Eagles' defense looked like the best unit in the league. And at other times … it didn't. 

By the end of the season, the Eagles averaged out to be a middle-of-the-road defense. And the way ProFootballFocus ranked it makes sense.

PFF ranked the Eagles' secondary as the absolute worst in the league, but in it's list of front sevens, released on Tuesday, the Eagles came in at No. 2 behind just Seattle. 

Here's what PFF said about the Eagles' front seven: 

"It was a difficult decision between the Eagles and the Seahawks for the No. 1 spot, as this front-seven propped up a hodge-podge secondary to form one of the league’s most effective defenses for a good portion of the season. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox finished with the third- and fourth-highest pass-rushing productivity marks at their respective positions. Philadelphia’s front-seven also features a budding star in second-year linebacker Jordan Hicks, who led all players at the position with five interceptions."

Graham received the highest grade among the Eagles' front seven with a 93.3, while Connor Barwin received the worst at 42.1. Graham was the only Eagles player to make the PFF All-Pro team this year. To prove that stats don't always tell the full story, Graham finished with a half sack more than Barwin (6 1/2 to 6). 

While the Eagles' cornerback trio of Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills ranked 79th, 107th and 120th out of 120, respectively, their players across the front seven were much, much better. 

Hicks was ranked as the seventh-best middle linebacker and Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks were both top-10 outside linebackers in 4-3 defenses. Graham was the top-ranked 4-3 defensive end and Cox was the fifth-best interior lineman.