The Philadelphia Phillies Need to Get Jimmy Rollins Out of the Leadoff Spot

By Cody Swartz

The Philadelphia Phillies’ offensive struggles this season have been well-documented. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are each trying to rehab from their own separate injuries, John Mayberry Jr. has been awful, and Shane Victorino isn’t playing like he wants a new contract in 2013.

Among the players that have been struggling is Jimmy Rollins, and it’s high time the Phillies move him out of the leadoff spot.

Charlie Manuel is a man of tradition. After all, this is the same guy who used Brad Lidge as his closer during that miserable 2009 season when Lidge blew 11 saves and posted a frighteningly awful ERA.

But Rollins hasn’t been getting the job done. He’s hitting .223/.275/.264 in 130 plate appearances, and his average has slipped drastically as of late. Rollins went 0-for-4 tonight, and he’s just 7-for-36 thus far in May, which puts him at .194 for the month. He’s batting .233 as a lefty and just .226 as a righty. Rollins is performing better as a leadoff hitter, at .234 compared to .216 as a three hole hitter, but it’s really not enough to warrant his staying in the top half of the lineup.

The Phillies’ offense really needs a kick start, and getting Utley and Howard back is huge. For now, I think the Phillies need to bat Juan Pierre in the leadoff spot. He’s overachieving this season, at .337 with a near-.400 on-base percentage following tonight’s two-hit performance, but as long as he is hitting, the Phillies should bat him leadoff. I would follow with Placido Polanco, then Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Carlos Ruiz fifth. Rollins deserves to hit around sixth in the lineup, followed by Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, Freddy Galvis, and then the pitcher.

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