May 18, 2010
The Return of Jimmy Rollins
Last night, the Phillies welcome back Jimmy Rollins from the DL due to his calf injury. Despite his less-than-stellar 2009, seeing Rollins's name in the lineup is a joyful sight for any Phillies fan. Before his calf injury, he was on a hot streak that hadn;t been rivaled since the 2007 MVP seaon. He was hitting .391/.516/.739 at the point of the injury. This, of course, is not a sustainable set of averages for the season, but the new patient approach could pay dividends, especially if he continues drving the ball with authority.
What did the Phillies miss with Rollins out? Well, offensively, they were still a great team. They get to move Victorino back down in the order (this was written before Utley got sick, who was hitting a very good .309/.347/.606 from the lead-off spot, the only downside is that he only drew 8 BB in those 29 games. In a way, he's then better suited to be another linchpin in the 6th or 7th spot of the order. He did have 21 RBI in 29 games after all...while hitting leadoff.
Of course, the other side is the shortstop replacements. Neither Juan Castro nor Wilson Valdez are long term solutions as evidenced by their .590 or so OPS. Also, Valdez had a penchant or grounding into double plays that I've never quite seen before. Also, I believe that neither are as good a fielder as Rollins.
But, he has returned and the lineup has essentially league average or better hitters at seven of the eight positions (Ibanez has to wake up). The keystone combination of Utley and Rollins has reformed once again.
Plus, who else would New York radio approach for a controversial quote?