Phillies roll, but Rollins goes out

Posted: September 08, 2010

He offered no astonishing revelation, yet Charlie Manuel's words had plenty of meaning hours before the Phillies' 10-6 stomping of the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

The manager was asked how his team, now in first place, has the best record in one-run games this season. His answer was one verse of baseball poetry, one of those many sayings players and coaches have relied upon for decades.

"A lot of baseball is luck," Manuel said.

Luck, as in Jimmy Rollins' just keeping a line drive fair inside the third-base line in the third inning Wednesday. Luck, as in the ball's bouncing off the fencing of the stands that jut out, meaning Marlins leftfielder Logan Morrison could reach the ball quicker. Luck, as in Rollins' looking up and seeing he had to bust it just a little harder.

Somewhere in those 90 feet between first and second base, Rollins hurt his right hamstring. After the game, Manuel said Rollins has been sick and was dehydrated. That may have caused the tightness in his hamstring. Rollins had left the ballpark by the time the game ended.

"Our trainers and the doctor, they felt like he's going to be OK," Manuel said. "That's the impression they gave me."

Still, it was enough to dampen everything else that happened at Citizens Bank Park. And there were so many other positives to take away.

Cole Hamels pitched seven more shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak to 25, the longest for a Phillies starter since Randy Wolf threw 27 straight spotless in 2002.

In 12 second-half starts, Hamels has a 1.83 ERA. After going a month and a half without victory, the lefthander has won his last three starts. (His luck finally appears to be turning. The 10 runs scored by the Phillies equaled Hamels' run support in his previous four starts combined.) His season ERA of 3.06 would be tops in his five-season career, even better than the magical 2008 season.

The Phillies had 18 hits. Ryan Howard drove in six runs - one short of his career high - including three on an opposite-field blast in the fourth that left little doubt of the game's result. (That is, until Nate Robertson and the rest of the IronPigs entered.) The team's newest leadoff hitter, Shane Victorino, was on base three times and scored each time.

But to begin the fourth inning, there was Wilson Valdez jogging onto the field and a verifiable groan spreading across the 114th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park.

Not again.

"It's one of those things that it has happened so much this year to where you're thinking, 'Oh, man, not again.' " Howard said. "You just keep pushing."

Rollins, who has missed 59 games this season with a right calf strain and bruised left foot, was visibly upset upon entering the dugout after scoring a run in the third.

The shortstop sat on the bench with his head down, talking to head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan. A few seconds later, he stood up, ripped off his skull cap, and headed down the tunnel back to the clubhouse.

It appeared as if Rollins suffered the injury running between first and second base on his two-out double. He scored on a single to left by Carlos Ruiz two batters later. He practically limped home and scored with a well-timed hook slide.

Rollins is hitting .245 with a .695 OPS this season, both of which are nearing career lows. But he has recently thrived hitting further down in Manuel's lineup.

"I feel bad for him," Victorino said. "But that's why you have other guys to fill in and step up."

Luck, as Manuel well knows, can work both ways. The Phillies already have had 17 players on the disabled list.

Then again, these Phillies - 21 games over .500 and atop the division - have so far mastered overcoming bad luck.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow on Twitter @magelb.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|