Jimmy Rollins seems to have found a new home in the leadoff spot once again. Credit: Getty Images
It’s just a matter of time until Jimmy Rollins becomes the Phillies all-time hit leader. The Phillies veteran shortstop passed Richie Ashburn for second place on the franchise’s all-time hits list with 2,218 hits when he singled at Marlins Park. Rollins hit and Marlon Byrd’s two-run homer were the silver linings in the Phillies 4-3 loss to Florida.
Rollins is just 17 hits from passing Mike Schmidt, who is the club leader with 2,234 hits.
“I feel really good right now,” Rollins said. “I’m feeling really comfortable.”
It shows. Rollins is having a strong bounce-back year.
The longest-tenured Phillie had a rough 2013. Rollins already has as many homers (six) and triples (two) as he had last season and more than half of the amount of RBIs (20) than he had during the ‘13 campaign.
Forget about last season, Rollins’ is having his best year since 2007 when he was named NL MVP. Rollins slugging percentage (.458) and OPS (.827) are on a par with 2007, the finest of his 15 seasons.
“I know I can still play the game at the level I’d like to play at,” Rollins said.
It’s not just Rollins’ bat but his defense remains top notch and he continues to be durable at 35. Rollins played in 160 games in 2013 and with the exception of 2010, has never played less than 137 games in a season.
“Jimmy Rollins is a special player,” Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said. “I’m not surprised that he turned things around. He’s in great shape and he just looks like he’s revitalized. Anyone that knows baseball can see Jimmy Rollins can still play.”
Rollins, who remained at the top of the order with Ben Revere in the lineup Thursday, and double play partner Chase Utley are a pair of bright spots in a maddeningly inconsistent season.
The Phillies can’t string together a decent win streak. It’s been over a season since the Phillies have won four games in a row.
“We have to find a way,” Rollins said. “We need to get on some kind of a roll. We have the talent. It’s about us being able to figure out how to put it together.”
Ruf to backup, at least for now
Expect Darin Ruf to be an option off the bench as opposed to a starter, according to Ruben Amaro.
The Phillies can certainly use a potent righthanded bat to pinch hit. Ruf grounded into a double play Wednesday night against the Marlins.
Phillies wait for Brown to gain steam
The Phillies will remain patient with Domonic Brown, who is hitting just .211. Amaro and Sandberg have said that Brown, who blasted a monster home run against Florida Wednesday night, will get an ample chance to find his power stroke.
Asche coming around
Patience appears to be paying off for Cody Asche. The rookie third baseman, who has been hovering around the Mendoza line for much of the season, has picked it up recently. Asche is batting .258.