Sunday, September 04, 2005

Beating up on Jimmy

The Phillies have lost two straight to the Nationals and the bloggers are looking to blame it on someone.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins seems to be moving up the chart of targets.

Here are a couple of examples from after Saturday night's loss:

From Beer Leaguer:

The Phils blew several golden opportunities to score, including two bases-loaded chances that fell into the lap of Jimmy Rollins. With two outs in the fifth, Rollins popped up the first pitch to end the threat, and in the 11th, J-Roll made it easy for struggling reliever Gary Majewski, chasing high and grounding into a fielder’s choice with one out.

Rollins has been a clueless hitter this season: buckling, hacking, twirling. His .679 OPS is the lowest it’s been since May 31. He’s logged 70 more at bats than the next highest teammate, Bobby Abreu, but his approach is among the most amateur on the team.

The broadcast crew will point to his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely, but that’s a bogus number. He’s been dense to his leadoff responsibilities ever since the Phils asserted themselves into the playoff hunt.

And another one from the Philling Station:

Jimmy Rollins was just about hitting his stride this time last season, last night he fell below even David Bell on many a Phans' list of their favorite Phils.

Jimmy came up twice with the bases loaded and each time his notorious lack of plate discipline spelled the end of a potential rally. In the fifth inning, after pinch hitter Michael Tucker walked to load the bases with two outs, Rollins skied the first offering from John Patterson to center field.

Then with one out in the top of the eleventh and the bases loaded, it seemed as if J-Roll had learned his lesson. Relief pitcher Gary Majewski was wild, having hit Todd Pratt in the ribcage and then doing the near impossible by actually walking pinch hitter Endy Chavez. J-Roll took two pitches for balls, and then inexplicably swung at balls out of the strike zone, grounding into a fielder's choice at home plate. Kenny Lofton, who should really be sat down in favor of Jason Michaels this afternoon, then grounded weakly into his own inning ending fielder's choice.

And another ... from Swing and a Miss:

In the top of the eleventh the Phillies loaded the bases with one out, but Jimmy Rollins failed to deliver, grounding to Brad Wilkerson, who threw home for the easy force. It was a classic Rollins at-bat as he fouled off at least two eye-level pitches out of the strike zone that would have resulted in a walk forcing in a run. Even Endy Chavez, who preceded him, showed far more plate discipline than Rollins, drawing a walk to load the bases. Kenny Lofton followed Rollins and grounded to short to end the inning.

Rollins is 27 years old and a six-year veteran. It appears highly unlikely he will ever develop the kind of discipline necessary to be a productive hitter let alone leadoff batter. Instead, he will muddle along somewhere in the middle of the pack, neither great nor lousy, but always maddening.


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