The Fightins'
Don’t Fret Over The Loss of Rollins
Posted by at 9:25 am ET 31 Comments

Think back to April of 2008 for a moment. The Phillies dropped two of three to the Washington Nationals in an awfully poor display of pitching and offense. Their new closer was on the disabled list, their former closer was starting (rather unsuccessfully, I might add), and they were about to embark on a typical April in Philadelphia, where expectations far exceed the the results.

To make things worse, Jimmy Rollins, the reigning MVP, team leader and mouth piece for all of Philadelphia, landed on the disabled list with a sprained ankle after he awkwardly slid into second base on an attempted pickoff play in a game against the New York Mets.

Rollins would try to play through the injury, and ended up on the disabled list over a week later. All told, he went on to miss about a month’s worth of games.

Flash forward to today, and he finds himself in a similar situation: An injury to his calf that requires a trip to the disabled list; one that could possibly take up to a month to completely heal.

To debate about which injury is worse would be inane and an act of futility. Point is, this type of injury significantly impedes Jimmy’s game: beating out infield singles, first-to-third on a bleeder, scoring from second on a bloop to right, and perhaps most importantly, the range on the field that is the backbone of one of the best defensive units in the National League.

So the health of Jimmy Rollins, even if it means missing a month, is tantamount to the success of this team in the long run.

Which brings me to my point: The Phillies are not going to miss Jimmy. Well, not too much.

And here’s why.

In 2008, the Phillies went 16-12 from the time that Jimmy hurt his ankle on April 8th to the time he came back on May 9th.

Over that span, the Phillies went 16-12.

They averaged 4.8 runs per game, just a hair less than the 4.9 runs per game when Rollins wasn’t on the DL.

They did that with a pitching staff that consisted of Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick.

They did that with Geoff Jenkins and So Taguchi receiving significant playing time.

In other words, the Phillies did a lot with a little. They battled and clawed their way to a winning record in the 28 games without the services of Young James, with a team that is considerably weaker than the current roster.

And as good as Rollins has been to start the season, his absence on the offensive side of things is going to be less traumatic than that of what he brings to the defense. With the way the that the 2-6 hitters are going, losing Rollins for an extended period of time shouldn’t impact things too much. We’ve seen what the team can do without him, and there is no reason to think that it won’t continue, at least for a little while.

It also gives Shane Victorino a chance to get himself back on track, as the seventh spot in the lineup is less conducive to hitting success than the lead off spot. At the top of the lineup, he is going to get better pitches to hit with the likes of Placido Polanco and Chase Utley hitting behind him. In his first action as the lead off hitter last night, he went 4-for-5 with a triple, a homer, and five RBIs. Say what you want about the strength of the Nationals pitching staff, but it could be just what Shane needs to get going.

That isn’t to say that the team isn’t going to miss Rollins over the next month. It’s more about managing in his absence and how they can react to the adversity of being behind the eight-ball. But thanks be to a 7-1 start, the best since the 1993 squad accomplished the same, this team has built up some competitive equity, such that they can almost afford to lose a player for a limited amount of time.

And we’ve all heard the adage of “as jimmy goes, so do the phillies.” That statement basically won him the MVP.

But for now, the Phillies are going to go. With or without him.

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  • Eric

    People are frettin’?

  • Jdashdog

    Just me but I’m more worried about the rotation than anything. And even that I’m not too worried about. Oh and Lidge. I’m worried about him too.

  • mich

    Jimmy’s gonna get some rest and then Jimmy’s gonna put the moves on the rest of the league.

  • Muscles

    I’ll fret over whatever I damn well please! Don’t you tell me what I can’t do!

  • Sal Fasano’s Beard

    How does Jimmy injure his million dollar body in warm ups… gay.

  • dUb-iLL

    As long as they score 14 runs a night I won’t fret. Once single digit totals start coming in I’m buying a Twins hat and moving to the Midwest.

  • loctastic

    I’m more concerned about how the injury will affect the rest of Rollins’ season, he was so patient and locked in already. I hope he can bounce back to that.

  • 85

    Jimmy’s always been a second-half guy anyway. Now we’re gonna get a more rested and more fired up to get rolling Jimmy. Don’t worry. Even without Jimmy this is the NL’s best lineup by far.

    And then there’s Doc. Only two more days til more Doc!

  • bluethree

    What was their record when Jimmy was hurt in 2008 again?

  • ill

    I’m not really worried and i didn’t think anyone else really was.

    I mean, who doesn’t love Juan Castro?

  • Juan Castro

    Yeah, who DOESN’T love me?? Just kidding. Glad I can fill in while Jimmy’s out. I think we’ll be just fine and I will do my part to make as few errors as possible out there. And, remember, I hit a big, freakin’ double on Monday. What does THAT tell you?

  • Bob

    The 2-4 week time period from the Phils’ is incredibly optimistic. It is a big deal because it is a pretty severe injury that normally takes at least 4-6 weeks to require from and has a really high probability of reinjuring it once he returns. Basically the kind of thing that really requires probably closer to 2 months to heal close to 100% and not risk reinjuring it.

    My bet is that JRoll isn’t back until sometime after Memorial Day because he will probably need at least 4-5 rebab starts at a minimum. Certainly nothing to panic about losing JRoll for 5-6 weeks is a big deal because the alternative options (Castro/Valdez) are weak both offensively & defensively.

  • Here Come Da Judge

    I began to fret until I watched this offense score 14 runs without two starters in the lineup. These guys have no problem scoring enough runs to win games

  • crazy4swayze

    i’ve got a date with the happopotamus this afternoon. how much B team am i gonna get? castro and schneider? francisco in right? fuck it. it’s going to 75 degrees and i’m going to be trying the turkey hill milkshakes.

  • Eric Bruntlett

    I don’t love you, Juan. For fuck’s sake, the AAA Nationals? That’s more embarrassing than batting .171.

  • James Fayleez

    I already missed Jimmy when I saw Shane get up there and swing at the first pitch of the game.

    But I know our offense will be fine until he gets back….

  • Phylan

    @Bob Victorino had a strain in 2007 that was graded worse, and he came back in about 2 weeks. It’s not a full tear or anything, not even a grade 2 strain.

  • Phylan

    And luckily for you, crazy4swayze, Ruiz and Werth are both in the lineup today.

  • Suz

    Jimmy agrees with this blogger.

    In his presser yesterday, he noted that he went on the DL in 2008 and ended the season with a WS ring.

    The team isn’t quite as fun to watch without J-Roll playing defense, but I’m clinging to this.

  • Chuck

    When I saw Werth pinch hit last night I figured he would play today. Glad he’s not headed to the DL also. I think we’ll be ok w/o J-Roll….at least for now. Gotta love the Phils’ depth!

  • VonHayes

    Going to a game solo…to do or not to do?

  • bigmyc

    I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait until Spring Training is over so the Phillies can play some real games.

  • Phan Stuck in nyc

    The WereWerth said it was nothing, totally downplayed it the hip flexor thing. He said something like they (I’m assuming this means the doctor, Uncle Cholly, etc.) kind of made him take a couple days just to make sure he was ok. He felt fine taking the days b/c they’d been making so many runs he felt like they needed to slow down on all the high scores. That’s actually pretty funny if you think about it.

    But they don’t play a decent team until Atlanta 4/20, 4/21, 4/22. Guess we’ll see how all this holds up then. JRoll isn’t scheduled to be back until they play San Fran after that.

  • Phylan

    @VonHayes I do that a couple times a year, it’s nice and relaxing.

  • Phylan

    I would consider Florida to be a decent team, and they’re up next.

  • Joe D

    Shane will be more than fine in the leadoff spot. But Jimmy will have to be careful coming back. His glove will be sorely missed although Castro did have a nice turn on a tough feed from Utley in the first last night.

  • Phan Stuck in nyc

    Hm. Ok. I’ll take your word for it Phylan. I thought I understood from the MLB Network that the Fish were having a lot of problems lately. But I honestly do not keep track of all things Florida team-related. The last time I paid any attention to their teams at all was the ’08 WS.

  • Watrick

    Well, I know it’s the Mets and all, but the Nats did take 2 out of 3 against them, and it took the Mets to set records for homers in a game by the likes of Barajas, so I’m going to say that the Nats aren’t that bad, either. I think we’re just that good.

  • Joe D

    @Phan Stuck in nyc…don’t worry, Marlins fans haven’t paid attention to their team since….well ever.

  • StumpTheSchill

    Anyone else notice Pete Happy is batting 3rd for Houston?

  • Phan Stuck in nyc

    @Joe D – HA! I’ll take that into consideration. To be honest I’m just not a Florida-type person. Ok, so I won’t feel bad about disliking humidity and trailers either. Hey that’s better than Floridians just not caring for their own teams.

    Listen, I got teased in the midwest wearing that Phillies t-shirt as a kid. But I wore it. The Phanatic doll (ugliest thing ever) my Dad sent me at the southern college I went to got ransomed. But I got it back – free. I scared the crap out of the frat jerk who took it. The doll never got touched again.

    I live and work in NYC. I wear my Phillies cap and sweatshirt. I have Phillies photos hanging in my soul draining, life threatening cube. My friendships and my life have (jokingly) been threatened. Guys walk past all day saying, “Utley sucks!” “Rollins is out for the season! He’s done.” “Werth-less — he’s OURS, baby. Next year HOWARRRRD is too!”

    But I don’t care. The Phillies are my team. Werth is ours now and he wants to stay (if he doesn’t it’s the front office’s fault). Ryan Howard is ours now too. I like red.

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