The offense for the Philadelphia Phillies might have gone back into hibernation after losing to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, April 29. The 5-1 defeat guarantees the first losing month for the team in almost three years.
However, there was some silver lining in the loss. Jimmy Rollins batted in the leadoff spot for the second straight game. It looks like he is there to stay, and that might be a good thing. The Phillies have no business batting Rollins the third spot anymore. Now that he is leading off, I can only hope that Rollins starts playing well.
In the two games since moving to the top spot in the order, Rollins has done a lot better. In a win on April 28, Rollins knocked in two runs with a double. He had one hit in the Sunday loss. While it might not seem like much, it is infinitely better than what Rollins was doing in the three-hole. Prior to the game on April 28, Rollins had just two extra-base hits and three RBIs on the season. He came close to matching those totals over the weekend. I can't see any scenario in which Charlie Manuel moves him from the leadoff spot.
Rollins was a disaster when he batted third. Considering how important that position is in the lineup, the Phillies were really losing a lot with his lack of production. He was hearing a chorus of boos from the home crowd, and he deserved them. Even though he has lost a touch of speed, Rollins is much better batting first. He is clearly more comfortable there. For the first time this season he has a little momentum to build off of and that is big. He had to move out of the three spot and I'm glad he finally did.
Will Rollins pick up some steam? Time will tell for that but at least there is reason to believe. The Phillies have a critical stretch coming up. They have a six-game road trip against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. Both teams are comfortably ahead of the Phillies in the division standings, but that could change if the team plays well. These games are going to be important for Rollins. He needs to set the tone and remind the team that he is a leader. By batting first, he will have a chance to do that.* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Phillies fan.