There are a few things you can bank on. Citizens Bank Park will always be filled to capacity. Charlie Manuel can relax any clubhouse. And Jimmy Rollins will be No. 1 on the lineup card.
Rollins is the straw that stirs the drink. Since 2001, he’s racked up nearly 17,000 hits batting out of the leadoff spot. Of course, his most dangerous trait has always been his speed, with 340 stolen bases to prove it. But, as the playoffs begin, Rollins fully admits to being less than 100 percent, as he deals with a nagging hamstring injury.
“I won’t be 100 percent until February, probably,” Rollins said. “I probably won’t be getting any infield singles.”
Rollins has missed 15 of the team’s last 21 games, and he’s batting .243 in 88 games. Meanwhile, with Rollins on the DL, Shane Victorino sported a .357 average as the Phillies sprinted to their fourth NL East crown. It seems crazy, but would Manuel drop Rollins in the order?
“I think he’s running good enough definitely to play,” Manuel said. “As far as my lineup goes, I haven’t really decided on it yet.”
‘We need Jimmy’
Jimmy Rollins has never been the prototypical leadoff hitter. He strikes
out too much. His on-base percentage is too low. He always swings at
the first pitch.
All are valid concerns. However, there is simply no stat for his
leadership and calming influence inside the Phillies’ clubhouse.
“We need Jimmy. He’s a huge part of this,” Shane Victorino said. “You
know what he provides for this offense. He’s our catalyst. To have him
back doing what he’s capable of doing is huge for us.”