Inside Pitch: Slumping Rollins Takes A Seat

For the last five weeks of the 2005 season and the opening two weeks of this season, Jimmy Rollins rarely had a bad day, let alone enough consecutive bad days to call it a slump. However, over the past week Rollins has watched his average go from briefly bobbing over the .400 barrier, to sliding under .300 for the first time since the opening series of the season.

Jimmy Rollins was out of the starting lineup for the first time this season Friday night after going 0-for-9 in his previous two games. It was the first time since Aug. 21-22, 2005, that Rollins has had back-to-back hitless games.

While Rollins is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and only has four hits in his last 28 at-bats dating to the start of the Phils' series in Colorado last weekend, that wasn't why he was on the bench.

A little overzealousness in the batting cage created a blister on the underside of Rollins' left hand, and with Florida's Scott Olsen being the only southpaw the Phillies are scheduled to see over the next week, it was an opportunity to let the injury heal.

"It's where the bat sits when I swing right-handed," said Rollins, who developed the blister by doing too many of his one-handed-swing drills prior to games. "(Manager Charlie Manuel) came and asked me after (Thursday night's) game if I wanted a rest, and I said yeah.

"It's not serious. If Dontrelle (Willis) is pitching, I'm in there."

Rollins said the hand isn't a factor in his recent slump. He said that he hasn't been getting his front foot down at the proper time when he loads his swing, and that has him out in front of a lot of pitches. Rollins also admitted that he has noticed the shift that teams have been using against him when he bats left-handed. He has hit a couple of sharp grounders up the middle that the opposing shortstop has been able to field and turn into outs.

"The J-Roll Shift," Rollins said, "I never thought I'd see that."

REPLAY: The Phillies continued to hit poorly in the clutch and make costly fundamental errors at bad times, as they lost to the Marlins 4-3, for their eighth loss in 10 home games.

Jon Lieber (0-4, 7.99) had by far his best outing, but after retiring the first 13 batters he faced, Lieber allowed two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

"I didn't have good stuff," said Lieber, who struck out eight and walked none. "I'm not contributing. That's the bottom line."

The Phils scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth, but scoring three runs in a game where in four of the nine innings they had at least one runner in scoring position with no outs.


  • Aaron Rowand batted leadoff, had two hits, reached base three times and stole a base. Don't expect to see Rowand there again, however. Jimmy Rollins will return to the leadoff spot when he returns to the lineup after his night off.
  • Ryan Howard batted seventh for the second straight game, but you might see him batting in the cleanup spot in the near future. Pat Burrell, who has been hitting fourth recently, is 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position. Howard had two hits Friday to raise his average to .321 in those spots.
  • Ryan Franklin pitched two shutout innings of relief and seems to be the only reliever besides closer Tom Gordon that manager Charlie Manuel can trust these days. Franklin has a 3.60 ERA and three of the four runs he has allowed came when he was pitching for the fourth time in five days.
THE NUMBERS GAME: Minus-27: The Phillies' run differential through Friday, which is worst in the National League and second-worst in the majors behind the Royals.

HE SAID WHAT?: "I can't even get kicked out of a game. I said everything I could possible say. I think I used everything I had." - manager Charlie Manuel, on arguing a call with umpire James Hoye Friday.


  • David Bell (back spasms) seems to be finally getting over his problems, and he remains a regular.
  • Pat Burrell (sore right foot) is laboring around the bases and is displeased that offseason surgery didn't solve the problem.
  • Chris Booker (knee) is a Rule 5 guy who would have to remain on the roster once he gets healthy.

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