Just hanging out on a Tuesday night

OK, where do I start first – Phillies or the Olympics?

Phillies, right?

It certainly should be an interesting evening at the ol’ (new) ballpark tonight. Despite taking two of three from the lowly Padres, it seems as if the fans are restless and fed up with the Phillies’ offense. But make no mistake, Charlie Manuel isn’t too happy with it either.

How can he be? A nine-week slump with the bats just might be what the Mets need to capture the NL East. However, the Mets’ bullpen is a mess. Worse, it was that way before closer Billy Wagner went out with left elbow inflammation.

Nevertheless, this is a big stretch for the Phillies. With nine straight games at home, including three against the lowly Nationals starting tonight, the Phillies can cut into the Mets’ 1 ½ games lead in the NL East.

Then there is Jimmy Rollins…

Yeah, that whole situation nearly reached its apex this afternoon when the reigning NL MVP talked to a healthy media throng about the comments he made on the late-night cable TV program, “The Best Damn Sports Show, Period.”

There weren’t too many interesting revelations from that little powwow other than Rollins telling the press that the one thing he has learned this season is how important he is to the team.

Certainly Rollins is correct about that. During the last seven game road trip, the Phillies struggled to a 3-4 record and scored just 22 runs largely in part because Rollins did not get on base. During that stretch Rollins hit .167 and had an on-base percentage of .194.

Then again Rollins isn’t the only player struggling with the bat for the Phillies.

However, when asked if he regretted the comments he made on the TV show, Rollins had a quick reply:

“No, not at all.”

Without naming names, Rollins also pointed out that he took one for the team.

“I was speaking for a lot of guys,” he said.

So there’s that.

Meanwhile, in the Far East it was a pretty good day for the American women distance runners. In the qualifying heats of the women’s 5,000-meters at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Shalane Flanagan followed up her recent bronze medal in the 10,000-meters by turning in a quick, 14:59.69 to advance to the 5,000 finals on Friday.

Villanova’s Jen Rhines also advanced with a 15:15.12 over the 3.1 miles, while Kara Goucher made it through with a 15:00.98. Goucher was disappointed with her 10th place finish in the 10,000 even though she ran a personal best time and says she turned her focus on the 5,000 when she realized that she wasn’t going to medal in the 10,000.

Nevertheless, if Goucher, Rhines or Flanagan are going to finish on the podium on Thursday, it will definitely take a personal-best time. Both Rhines and Goucher have run 14:55 in the distance, while Flanagan has the American record with 14:44. By comparison, there are eight women in the field of 15 who have run times faster than Flanagan’s American record.

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