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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Game 75: Hamels loses again (39-36)

There's really not much to say about this game. The Phils got crushed, and they are now only a half-game ahead of the second-place Florida Marlins.

As a result, I'm going to take this chance to explain what the Phils should do with Jimmy Rollins, who has a .250 OBP on the year. Unfortunately, this isn't a slow start to the season: the Phillies will be halfway through the regular season in about a week. Charlie Manuel has repeatedly stated that "Jimmy is our leadoff man." I think that is a ridiculous statement to make. Primarily, his career OBP is only .329, which is below average for an everyday player (let alone a leadoff man). When you have a player with such a low career OBP, it's extremely irresponsible to blindly name him the team's leadoff hitter. Shane Victorino is not the ideal option. His career OBP, however, is .345 and his season OBP is .360.

Even if Rollins somehow regresses to his career numbers, his OBP will be unacceptable for a leadoff man. If Manuel refuses to drop Rollins down in the lineup, the Phillies will have a very tough time scoring runs for the rest of the year.

Rollins should be the 6- or 7-hitter. His defense is invaluable, and he can steal more bases to spark the bottom of the lineup. His replacement at shortstop is Eric Bruntlett, who is not as talented on offense or defense. Manuel should not bench Rollins: even if Rollins bats 8th for the rest of the year, he can work on his offense while also improving the lineup as a whole since Victorino will bat in the leadoff spot. But, judging by Manuel's repeated support of Rollins as a leadoff man, I wouldn't count on seeing Rollins drop down in the lineup.

Tomorrow night the Phillies try to avoid the sweep when LHP J.A. Happ faces RHP Javier Vazquez at 7:05 pm.

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