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Rollins on N.L. East: 'It still runs through Philly'

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Rollins on N.L. East: 'It still runs through Philly'

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.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.