Rollins Reclaims Leadoff Spot

With Aaron Rowand set to return to the lineup, Shane Victorino - who hit leadoff the last couple of games for the Phillies - will be back on the bench. With the leadoff spot open, Jimmy Rollins moves back up to claim his spot.

With his average falling faster than presidential approval ratings, shortstop Jimmy Rollins found himself removed from the highest seat in the Phillies' batting order.

Rollins, his average down to .237 - more than 100 points lower than it was five weeks earlier - found his name in the number six hole of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Mets. CF Shane Victorino, whose May average is nearly double that of Rollins' (.388 to .200), was atop the lineup card and went 1-for-4 with a walk in the Phils' 5-3 win.

"It worked (Thursday)," manager Charlie Manuel said of the switch. "Let's see if it works again (Friday)." (Victorino went 1-for-5 and Rollins was 1-for-4 on Friday.)

"Jimmy's a team player. He's fine with it. When he's hitting good he feasts on that leadoff role. When he starts struggling and isn't hitting like he can, (moving down in the order) can help him."

Indeed, Rollins was in good spirits and showing not even a hint of a sulk after the game.

"Shane led the way," said Rollins, who is in a 24-for-126 (.191) funk since April 18, when his average was .339 and he had hits in 11 of the first 13 games of the season. "If it's long-term thing, then I'll have a chance to drive in runs."

Rollins has been a streaky player almost from the start of his career. This funk comes on the heels of a scorching run in which he hit in 38 consecutive games and 49 of 51 games over the final five weeks of last season and the start of this season.

Rollins said his streaky behavior at the plate doesn't have him feeling rock-bottom low.

"It's like I'm hovering right above the ground," he said with a grin. "I know that better days are coming, as long as we get the win I have another day to work on it. I'm holding onto (his teammates') coattails until I get it together."

NOTES and QUOTES:

  • Brett Myers allowed just one hit in the final four innings and retired the final eight batters he faced in his seven-inning, 119-pitch outing Thursday. Prior to that game Myers had a 0.81 ERA up to his 75th pitch of starts, but a 7.13 ERA after the 76th pitch.
  • Ryan Howard hit his 10th homerun of May Thursday, the most in a month in his young career. He hit nine HRs in September of last season and one in October.
  • Aaron Rowand (broken nose) and C Mike Lieberthal (bruised knee) took some swings in a simulated game Friday afternoon. Rowand will be activated to play in Saturday night's game. Lieberthal will play a game or two at AA Reading this weekend before possibly being activated on Monday.
  • Tom Gordon went beyond one inning of work for the first time as the Phillies' closer Thursday when he got the final four outs for his 14th save. It was the first time Gordon had pitched since Sunday and that appearance had been his lone action in 11 days for the struggling Phils.
  • THE NUMBERS GAME: .158 - Jimmy Rollins' average against left-handed pitchers this season (through May 19). He entered the season batting .281 lifetime against LHPs - 10 points higher than his average against RHPs.


    Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories