Video: Defiant Until the Very End, Rollins Calls Nationals a Second-Place Team

Video: Defiant Until the Very End, Rollins Calls Nationals a Second-Place Team

This could be considered taking some journalistic liberties as we paraphrase ever so slightly, but we're pretty sure what Jimmy Rollins was saying here is the equivalent of, "We're still the team to beat."

With the Nationals on their way to the playoffs, and the Phillies headed to the vacation spots of their choosing, J-Roll did not seem so convinced of the natural order of things. We'll allow the '07 MVP to describe this season on his own terms, but in summary it's not much different from what we've said all along -- that injuries played a prominent role in holding the Phils back first and foremost.

You could argue a club that finished 17 games back in their division wouldn't be postseason players regardless of injury. Personally, I don't totally buy the math based on what they accomplished after the All-Star break.

Regardless, here is where we have to stand with Jimmy Rollins. Had the Phillies been even relatively healthy through the first 100 games or so of 2012, how far might they have gone? The Washington Nationals won't have to think about it this year, but if Rollins and the rest of the clubhouse has their way, it should weigh heavy on opponents' minds next year.

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

Tonight's lineup: With only RHPs left, could Ryan Howard start every game?

If healthy, Ryan Howard is expected to start all three games in the Phillies' final series of the season Sept. 2-4 at home against the Mets.

He might also start the entire Braves series.

The Phillies' final six games are all against right-handed starting pitchers: Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Josh Collmenter in Atlanta; Robert Gsellman, Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard with the Mets. That could mean six starts for Howard before his time with the Phillies expires.

Howard's batting average has been below .200 for practically the entire season, but he's been much better since the All-Star break, hitting .259/.325/.598 with 11 homers, five doubles and 25 RBIs in 123 plate appearances (see game notes). He went 0 for 6 in his last two starts but homered in each of his two previous starts to reach 23 for the third year in a row.

Here's the Phillies' full lineup Tuesday against Teheran:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Aaron Altherr, RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff, P

Matt Kemp is out of the Braves' lineup.

1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Adonis Garcia, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Tyler Flowers, C
6. Jace Peterson, 2B
7. Dansby Swanson, SS
8. Mallex Smith, LF
9. Julio Teheran, P

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Howie Roseman makes complete 180 with latest roster move

Howie Roseman makes complete 180 with latest roster move

Howie Roseman solidified his hold on Executive of the Year Tuesday when he re-signed guard Darrell Greene to the practice squad and released JaCorey Shepherd from the practice squad. Shepherd was signed on Wednesday when Greene was previously released.

The Eagles were undefeated with Shepherd on the practice squad this year.

But they're also undefeated with Greene on the practice squad.

Roseman did not return messages requesting comment about Shepherd's seven-day stint with the Eagles.

Once Roseman realized he had actually NOT signed Lito Sheppard, the deal was voided.

The Eagles don't play this coming weekend so we were hard-pressed for any actual news.