It seems that Phildelphia Phillies head coach Charlie Manuel is finally starting to crack his whip, and lay down the law. It started with him demanding for an A-List starter, and now it has continued with the benching of former-MVP winner, Jimmy Rollins.
Lately Rollins has not been playing so hot, and has the lowest OPS among lead-off hitters with at least 200 at-bats in .526. Rollins looked to me like he had the game that would get him out of his funk, against the Toronto Blue Jays in the series finale where he went 3-4, scored 2 runs, walked once, and stole a base, while driving in 2 batters and hitting a homerun. That did not happen. Rollins continued his slump after that game and his batting average is now down to a career low, .211. Those are not exactly the numbers that you want your leadoff hitter producing.
The problem with Rollins is that he is hitting mostly pop-ups, which is not what a lead-off hitter should be doing. He is trying to jack a homer every time he steps up to the plate. This may be the way that Rollins has been successful the past couple of years, but he needs to reinvent himself and needs to start hitting more line drives than high flies.
Here is a solution to the problem. Bench J-Roll for the rest of the week. Let him work on his swing. Have him swing off of a tee. Have him analyze his swing from his MVP year, and the days when he was smashing the ball all over the field. Then, put Rollins back in the lineup on Sunday, and have him bat 6th in the lineup, and place Shane Victorino as the lead-off hitter. This will give Rollins the comfort to get his swing back to where he wants it. Batting 6th will give him the benefit of sitting back and seeing the better pitches that Victorino was seeing all season long.
Rollins might not get back on track right away, but having him sitting now, instead of later, and working things out will only benefit Jimmy, and more importantly the team. The Phillies can only go as far as J-Roll can take them. When he goes, the whole team goes. The Phillies need someone to get on base and steal bases and get in scoring position, and right now, Jimmy is just not the guy. The Phillies have to face that fact, and listen to what TBOH is saying.