Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rollins Proves Value in Return from DL

Jimmy Rollins must have been itching to return to play from his stint on the disabled list, as he drove in three runs to power the Phillies 7-3 victory in San Francisco. Coming just a triple short of hitting for the cycle, Rollins showed absolutely no rust in his return.

The strength of his performance upon his return might have to cast some doubts upon the wisdom of placing him on the disabled list in the first place. If he could have been ready to return earlier, it might not have been worth the extra roster spot not to have had him back as quickly as possible.

Phillies fans have to greet this with a sigh of relief, as Rollins' presence in the lineup had been sorely missed, both in terms of the production that he brought to the table and the balance he provided. One can only hope that his return restores some stability to the largely inconsistent rest of the lineup and takes some pressure off the badly-slumping Ryan Howard; perhaps less dependence upon his performance from the rest of the batting order will give him the opportunity to relax and find his swing.

The only other notable offensive story of the day was the return to San Francisco of Pedro Feliz, who seized the day by going two for five with an RBI double.

The four runs over seven innings that Cole Hamels surrendered look sub-par, but after surrendering most of them in the fourth he buckled down and held the Giants scoreless for three more innings. Every pitcher will suffer from weak moments, but it is the mark of the really talented ones that they can recover quickly and return to form.

Today's game was strongly encouraging, considering that the Phillies had managed to stay only a game behind first place in their division with their biggest slugger failing almost entirely to hit and last year's MVP on the disabled list and out of commission. If Rollins lives up to the standard that he has been, the rest of the season look bright for his team.

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