Jimmy Rollins benched, thinks Phils can make playoff push

It’s only a matter of time until Jimmy Rollins collects his 2,000th hit. J-Roll is just nine hits away from the magic number.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Rollins said. “It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

There’s something else that Rollins is looking forward to, but it might not happen. The greatest shortstop in the long history of the Phillies believes his squad, despite lengthy odds, can somehow make the playoffs this season.

“Things can happen,” Rollins said. “I remember when we did it the first time.”

Rollins is referring to 2007 when the Phillies appeared dead in the water. Rollins and his teammates trailed the Mets by seven games with 17 to play. They beat the extreme odds five years ago to take the division but it may be more difficult landing the second NL wild card.

Aside from the almost double-digit deficit (the Phils trailed by 9 1/2 games), four teams are in the Phillies way.

“It isn’t going to be easy, but we know we can do it,” Rollins said. “I know we can. This team is back to what it should be [with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard] and it knows how to win. Baseball needs a summer story. The Pirates were a good one but now it needs another story. Why not us?”

Well, time is running out. If the Phillies have even a glimmer of hope they need to somehow sweep the Braves in Atlanta this weekend starting Friday night.

“We face the Braves quite a bit [six times] before the end of the season,” Rollins said. “We have to figure out a way to beat them. Our backs are against the wall. We’ve had our backs against the wall before.”

If a miracle occurs, the Phillies would go to the postseason white hot.

“That would be great,” Rollins said. “It would be the opposite of last year. We need to finish very strong so we have a chance. If we make it, who knows what can happen? We have a lot of work to do.”

J-Roll benched for another lack of hustle

Charlie Manuel pulled Jimmy Rollins from Thursday’s game prior to the seventh inning in response to two base-running mistakes.

Rollins was benched to start the seventh, after he failed to run hard on a pop fly. The Phils shortstop dug the hole deeper when he was caught in a rundown a few pitches later.

“I have two rules: be on time and hustle,” skipper Charlie Manuel said. “Hustling is part of it and running balls out is definitely part of it.”

Rollins appeared to jog to first base when he hit a routine pop fly at Jonathon Niese, but the Mets pitcher dropped it. Had Rollins been hustling, he could have advanced to second base since no one was covering the bag.

Manuel said he benched Rollins due to the pop out, not the rundown. Rollins also came under fire back on Aug. 15 when he lazily trotted down the first-base line.

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