Rollins Is Benched Again, Still the Leadoff Hitter



rollins 0517.jpgCharlie Manuel
had benched Jimmy Rollins three times this season.

He had dropped him in the lineup twice.

But none of those events shook Rollins from the longest slump of his career. He entered tonight’s series finale against the Rays at Tropicana Field hitting just .211 with a .254 on-base percentage and a .328 slugging percentage. He had hit just .125 (7-for-56) in 13 games since Manuel dropped Rollins to sixth in the lineup for two games earlier this month against the Dodgers and Mets.

So Manuel is trying again. He has benched Rollins for the fourth time this season.

This time for at least two games.

“I’m going to give Jimmy a rest,” Manuel said. “In the meantime, I want him to sit down. I want him to kind of get away. I told him if he didn’t want to, he doesn’t have to take BP. I want him just to get away for a couple days and sit and watch and hopefully just relax.

“I’ve been noticing now for a while that Jimmy, he’s trying to do things instead of being relaxed. He’s definitely thinking about helping our team. I think that’s bothered him. I think he sees something during a game where he thinks, ‘Now is a good time to help our team,’ and all of a sudden he’s not getting it done and that makes it worse for him. It’s just like (Wednesday) night. He hit a ball to right field about as hard as he could hit it and a guy was standing there directly in front of him. But then he’s dribbled some balls. He’s popped balls up. He’s struck out on some pitches. I think it’s time to sit him. He’s starting to think about it a lot.”

Rollins declined comment before the game.

But it would seem to make sense to keep Shane Victorino in the leadoff spot until Rollins starts hitting again. Victorino entered Thursday’s game with a .371 on-base percentage. Of 45 leadoff hitters this season, Victorino’s OBP would rank 11th.

Rollins, who has a .237 OBP in the leadoff spot, is last.

But that won’t happen because Manuel said whenever Rollins comes back he is his leadoff hitter.

“I think he’s the leadoff hitter,” Manuel said of Rollins. “He is our leadoff hitter. … To me, we’ve got to get Jimmy right. That’s the whole purpose of sitting him. I don’t see moving him around in the lineup helping him one bit at all if you want to know the truth. I don’t understand that. I don’t see it. I’ve been around him for about five years and he is our leadoff hitter.”

Maybe Manuel doesn’t want to give Rollins a double whammy: bench him and drop him in the lineup. Maybe he thinks dropping Rollins in the lineup would kill his confidence. I’m not sure. But if Rollins continues to hit like he has, he only will hurt the team hitting leadoff.

Manuel must think the rest will do Rollins more good than hitting him fifth of sixth. Time will tell. But one thing is certain: they need Rollins to start hitting again in the worst way possible.

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5 Comments

Think its a good move by Charlie. Hope this works to help Rollins rebound.

Another ugly loss. Some suspect umpiring by the homeplate umpire on several calls. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Chase yell at an ump like he did tonight (especially when he’s not the batter). Another brain freeze this time by Feliz running the bases. Nothing seems to be going right for our Fightins :-(

Boring, uninspired baseball ever since the Mets series. I don’t know what has happened to this team and it is a minor miracle that they are still in first place. Clearly, Bastardo is not the answer and, remember, he’s not filling in for a #5 starter. He’s filling in for Myers. HELP!!!

I thought umpires were only reviewing home run balls? Why did this crew review a ground rule double?

I am totally sick of Tom McCarthy’s call of a game, he’s annoying like a fly.

Read my post on my blog here….

http://www.fightinphillies.com/2009/06/lets-not-panic-over-interleague-play.html

Last year Jimmy was getting benched for tardiness. This year he’s getting benched for sucking and lack of effort. Maybe it’s time to think about getting this guy outta here? He’s a very good defensive shortstop, but his excess baggage is starting to outweigh that.

Charlie reminds me of the Captain of the Titanic with his insistence on keeping Jimmy in the leadoff spot. The Captain of the Titanic decided to go full steam ahead through a sea of icebergs, and he went down with the ship. If Charlie keeps going full steam ahead with Jimmy in the leadoff spot, our playoff hopes will go down with the ship.

Pathetic! I thought I was watching a little league game.

Good to see Chase get fired up! Since he’s a clubhouse leader, maybe he can request a team meeting, and take some of the frustration he felt for the homeplate umpire out on his team mates. Charlie still seems hesitant to. Yeah, I know the team’s being beat up with injuries. But the Mutts seem to be able to battle through all their problems. If we keep playing like this, we’re soon going to be in 2nd place. If not 3rd!

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