Morning Juice: Jimmy Rollins misses the ballplayers' bell

Each weekday, let's rise and shine together with the latest and ... well, just the latest in big league baseball. Today's Roll Call started a long time ago, Jimmy Rollins, and where the heck are you? The Phillies got a series to lose to the Mets. C'mon, move it, move it, move it.

Game of the Day: Mets 3, Phillies 1

Next time, take the bus: Rollins was late, late, late for a very important date — he missed the 10 a.m. report time for Thursday's noon-ten p.m. game at Shea. He drove his own car, instead of taking the team bus, and arrived about an hour before the first pitch. That's great, even early, if you're sitting in section 104 with the Mad Men. But this guy is supposed to be in a defensive stance between third base and second. Rollins attributed his being tardy to bad luck with traffic lights. Tell me about it, J-Roll. Between the fine from Charlie Manuel and the cost of valet in mid-town Manhattan, J-Roll's peeling off some Benjamins. Todd Zolecki of the Philly Inquirer has a verbatim Q&A on his Phils' blog. Q&A, eh? That gives me an idea! Just need a moment ...

Mr. Pizza Guy's here: When a dude is late, it always reminds me of Jeff Spicoli and Mr. Hand in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Only, this is Rollins — who was benched and later pinch hit — and Manuel. So, sit back, grab some pizza and learn about Cuba J-Roll's day:

Mr. Manuel: Am I hallucinating here? Just what in the hell do you think you're doing?

J-Roll: It's the same thing I do all the time. I usually leave about 10 minutes after the bus as usual if I drive myself, but you can't change lights and stuff. Oh, well.

Mr. Manuel: Mr. Rollins, you're on dangerous ground. You're causing a major disturbance on my time.

J-Roll: I've been thinking about this, Mr. Manuel. If I'm here, and you're here, doesn't that make it "our" time?

Mr. Manuel: That's one of our rules: Hustle and be on time. That's all I want to say about [it,] Jimmy. We've got other things here.

J-Roll: Well, we're not going to agree on this one.

Meet the first-place-by-themselves Mets: Rather than build on a stunning come-from-nowhere victory in the series opener, the Phillies drifted in the final two games. The Mets pounced, and now are alone in first place in the NL East. How nice for them, after a tumultuously tumultuous first half of tumult. Carlos Delgado hit a tie-breaking double in the eighth, 12 Ks for Oliver! and B-Wags closed the door for the second straight game. Jerry might make a team out of these cats yet!

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Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's other games):

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3Ryan Braun, you are ridiculous. The Broo Croo didn't blow the Cards out of the water — three of the outcomes were decided in the final inning — and St. Lou has been counted out several times already. But this has to be the beginning of the end for the Redbirds. Unless they're zombie Redbirds. In that case, all bets are off.

Giants 1, Nationals 0 — Half-full says that it's a gem of a four-hitter against a major league lineup for Matt Cain. Half-empty says the Gnats played seven guys — the exceptions being Zimmerman and Guzman) who should hit no higher than eighth in any decent 1-9, and then only in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader in 1970 during a September when you're out of it. It's kind of amazing Warshington has won 38 games with these slap 'n' Judies. They have a lineup that makes you wanna go, "This guy here is dead!" Longoria!

Pirates 9, Padres 1 — Facially, Bucs righty Yoslan Herrera looks like a young Jose Contreras. So, 34, 35.

Cubs 6, Marlins 3 — Northsiders ain't escared of no Brewers! They scoff at your cheese and the head upon which it rests.

Royals 4, Rays 2 — Jeez, Hillman wasn't kidding about the Tigers leaving town. But what's with GilgaMeche? Meche promised John Buck he'd pitch a good game if he could shave Buck's head. He did, and did. Fetish alert!

Blue Jays 7-5, Orioles 1George Sherrill reportedly is on the block (What the heck for?) but Milwaukee's Doug Melvin says it's unlikely he winds up sliding into the barrel with Bernie Brewer. Roll out the barrel, anyway, just in case.

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Photo of the Day: No pepper, Force

Between innings Thursday night, Jedi master Albi-wan Pujols uses mystical powers that only George Lucas can explain. He's joined in trying to mentally move the "Death Ball" by fellow celeb Jedi — including the Dark Knight's Anthony Michael Hall (right, foreground) and Alan "Nightcrawler" Cumming (middle, back).

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Fantasy Freaks

Oliver Perez (Mets) 7 2/3 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 12 K!

Jamie Moyer (Phillies) 7 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 BB, 6 K

Roy Halladay (Blue Jays) 7 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win

Tim Redding (Gnats) 8 IP, 7 H, ER, 5 K, Loss

Cain (Giants) 9 IP, 4 H, 4 K, Win

Meche (Royals) 7 IP, 5 H, BB, 4 K, Win

Braun (Brewers) 4-4, HR, 2 RBI

Salomon Torres (Brewers) IP, 3 K, Save

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Fantasy Flakes

Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) 5 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, Loss

Scott Olsen (Marlins) 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, Loss

Ryan Franklin (Cards) 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 K, HR, Blown Save, Loss

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Words of Mouth

"I told him after the game, his head's staying like that for a while. We're going to keep shaving that head every fifth day. It was a fun day. I think he looks pretty good like that." — Meche, on Buck (so to speak)

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