The reality of the 2012 Phillies is finally sinking in, if it hasn’t already. This team isn’t the same club that won 102 games last year (not even close). With such a cataclysmic drop off from last year the blame game must be played. But who is to blame for this misery? Ruben Amaro put this roster together, knowing full well the injury concerns. Charlie Manuel has stubbornly trotted out the same lineup for the first 6 weeks desperately hoping things would magically come together. These two men make most of the key decisions for this team, but neither one plays the field. At the end of the day it’s the players who make the errors, strike out looking, or get picked off. No one has been at their best (Cole Hamels excluded) but if anyone should be bearing the brunt of the fans ire it’s J-Roll.
As a veteran on this club who just received a new contract he is expected to lead this team, at least by example. So far that couldn’t be farther from the truth. His .239/.290 line is pretty bad for a leadoff hitter. Rollins did manage to get his OBP above .300 breifly before his dismal showing in Baltimore. I don’t know if .300 can be considered the Mendoza line for on base percentage, but its less than desirable for a leadoff hitter, let alone a former MVP. Despite these numbers Charlie continues to pencil his name at the top of the order hoping for…i don’t know what. Bob Ford and Marcus Hayes of the Daily News ask the age old question whether Rollins should still be hitting at the top. My answer is no.
The most recent debacle in Baltimore this weekend was by and large a team effort, but Rollins didn’t help much with a 1-15 stretch. His loan hit was a home run, offering a glimmer of his power at the plate. Having been around a newborn baby recently i understand the pressure and exhaustion J-Roll must be going through off the field welcoming his first child. Rollins would never admit this has any affect on his play, but he is human after all. A player’s personal life is his own, but he isn’t playing like the happy go lucky player we’ve come to know and love. While Rollins doesn’t give away much in the form of sound bites, his body language is always telling. Watching the frustration on his face after a weak pop-up on Sunday said it all. If the Phillies are to make any kind of run and get back into playoff contention Rollins will have to be a big part of it. Until then, the Phils should let him work out his struggles in the 6th spot of the lineup. As painful a move as this may be from a pride standpoint, even Jimmy wouldn’t make the argument that he’s playing at the top of his game.