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.

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

The Phillies season in one video: 'Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby'

What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?

In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.

Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."

It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.

And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.

"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?

The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.

Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.

If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.

"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."

That makes one of us.

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

Highly ranked 2018 recruit Brandon Slater verbally commits to Villanova

The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.

Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.

He later made the announcement on Twitter.

Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.

Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.

"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."

Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.