Monday, June 29, 2009

Straigthening Out Themselves & Their Engine

The Phils took two out of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto over the weekend, no mean feat given their futility against AL Eastern division clubs and their sad history in the Dominion over the years. One of the wins was a laugher but the other was of the skin-of-their-teeth variety. No matter, they both count equally.

Coming after losing three straight series and a closed-door meeting, the two wins provided a little breathing room between themselves and the fumbling Mets, hot-and-cold Marlins and Braves. In other words, only the nearly-equal ineptitude of their division rivals has prevented the Phillies dismal journey through interleague play from being a total as opposed to nearly complete disaster. When you lose nine of twelve and only drop 1.5 games in the standings your competition leaves something to be desired.

Luck played a role in yesterday's win. So, too, did the absence of Roy Halladay from the Jays' rotation. You take what they give....

Jimmy Rollins, the engine that hasn't all season, sat for a fourth straight game yesterday marking his longest tenure on the bench as a healthy major leaguer since he took over the starting position. The thinking goes that a guy who is struggling badly needs a few days off to clear his head. The always talkative and approachable Rollins decided to stop speaking to the press during his mini sojourn in the wilderness, which can be interpreted as taking a complete break or merely pouting. Whatever is going on with Jimmy's psyche, his batting average and on-base percentage have been dismal all year and his always sure glove and hands haven't been consistent either. This may be the last chance for him to salvage his personal season. If he continues to struggle the Phillies are going to have to permanently drop him in the order and look to someone like Shane Victorino for a spark. One thing seems certain: the Phils won't be able to wait for the "real" JRoll to show up forever.


EastFallowfield said...

There was luck for both sides yesterday (Bruntlett booting a DP ball in the 8th inning of a one run game was certainly lucky for the Jays). Most often are breaks for both teams.

You take advantage more than the other team, you win.

Tom Goodman said...

Fair enough. The boot wasn't so hard to imagine with a guy who hasn't played much shortstop for two years and thus seemed less about luck and the pickoff was perhaps less unlucky than it was just bonehead play, but your conclusion is on the money.