Coming off a 4-for-4 game, Rollins will look to spark the Phillies’ offense again on Sunday when they close their three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia (63-53) had scored 17 runs in its first seven games in August, an unusually bad stretch for a team that entered the month with the fourth-most productive offense in baseball (546 runs).
The Phillies were limited to four hits in a 3-0 loss to Florida on Thursday, then couldn’t score for 12 innings on Friday in a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh (53-63). Rollins, meanwhile, began the month 6-for-26 (.231) with just one extra-base hit and one run scored. He led the league in runs (139) last season on his way to being named NL MVP.
Philadelphia entered Saturday’s game with the Pirates having been held scoreless for 23 consecutive innings, but Rollins made sure that would end quickly. He led off the bottom of the first with a triple for one of his four hits, helping the Phillies take an early 2-0 lead. Rollins tripled again leading off the seventh as the Phillies won 4-2 to stay a game ahead of the New York Mets atop the NL East.
Center fielder Shane Victorino drove in Rollins twice, and he’s been Philadelphia’s best offensive player over the past two weeks. Victorino is hitting .358 (19-for-53) with four homers and 14 RBIs in his last 13 games.
“We have to set the table for the big guys,” Rollins said of himself and Victorino.
But the Phillies’ big bats haven’t been hitting. Left fielder Pat Burrell has two hits in his last 24 at-bats (.083), first baseman Ryan Howard is 1-for-11 (.091) since Thursday, and second baseman Chase Utley is hitless in his last 10 at-bats.
They’ll be seeing a pitcher they’ve yet to face Sunday. Jason Davis (1-1, 2.57 ERA), moved into the rotation after another ineffective outing from Yoslan Herrera, has started 52 games in the majors, but all of those came from 2002-05 with Cleveland.
He hadn’t allowed a run in his first 3 1-3 innings of relief before yielding two over 3 2-3 innings in a 13-7 loss at Arizona on Monday.
“He’s got size and can create some angle,” manager John Russell told the Pirates’ official Web site. “He’s thrown the ball very well since we’ve used him.”
Davis will be opposed by 45-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer (10-7, 3.78), the oldest player in the majors. Moyer, though, certainly hasn’t looked his age over the last month, going 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts since July 10.
His lone loss came Tuesday when he allowed two runs over five innings in an 8-2 loss to Florida.
Moyer was 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh last season.
He’ll be seeing a Pirates’ team that’s had problems scoring runs recently following a rash of injuries and the trades of outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Pittsburgh has scored seven runs in its last four games and is hitting .211 in that span.