Notes: Rollins leading hit parade

Notes: Rollins leading hit parade

ATLANTA -- Steamy, oppressive weather helped Atlanta earn the nickname "Hot-lanta." While the Phillies hitters probably wouldn't be described as steamy or oppressive, collectively they are hot, possibly the hottest thing in the city right now.

Heading into Saturday's action, the Phillies were hitting .306 (170-556) as a team, with 29 doubles, two triples, 19 homers and 84 runs scored (5.3 runs per game) over their last 14 games. The sizzling bats have produced double-digit hit totals in 10 of their last 16 games.

No one is hotter than shortstop and leadoff man Jimmy Rollins, who is hitting .425 (17-for-40) over his last nine games. In fact, the way Rollins has been going, he's probably lamenting the end of team's nine-game road trip.

He's hit .469 (15-for-32) heading into Saturday's game, with seven runs scored, three doubles, three RBIs and three stolen bases. Rollins also has had five multi-hit games on the trip, including a season-high four-hit game Wednesday in Florida.

Jim Thome, who had three hits in that same game against the Marlins and blasted the decisive three-run first-inning homer Friday night, believes there's a direct correlation between Rollins' table-setting and the improved offense.

"I think it's big because it puts pressure on the defense," said Thome. "Anytime you have those guys in front of you and they get on base, things can happen. A lot of different things can happen. It's good. It worked out great."

Last night also proved that hitting is contagious, as the Phillies pounded out 12 hits, and did it without left fielder Pat Burrell, who sat out to rest his injured wrist.

How did manager Charlie Manuel replace Burrell, who leads the team in RBIs (39), is second in homers (nine) and is second among regulars in batting average (.312), has twice been named National League Player of the Week, and was hitting .419 (18-for-43) over his last 12 games? He simply plugged in Placido Polanco, who answered the call with two hits, the first one central to the Phils' four-run first inning on Friday.

It's Pat: Burrell, whose left wrist was too sore to even swing a bat Friday night, was back in the lineup Saturday, grounding an RBI single to right in the third inning.

"If he's all right, he's playing," said Manuel of Burrell, who will take advantage of the team's off day Monday by going to see a specialist recommended by trainer Jeff Cooper.

Matinee idols: Day time is the best time for the Phillies. They own a Major League-leading .632 winning percentage in day games and are hitting .279 during the day, with 92 runs scored.

In fact, seven Phillies are hitting over .300 during day games -- Tomas Perez (.545), Jason Michaels (.458), Burrell (.344), Kenny Lofton (.323), Polanco (.315), Bobby Abreu (.307) and Chase Utley (.306).

The hitters aren't the only ones enjoying the early start times. Phillies pitchers have an NL-best 3.31 ERA during the day (61 earned runs in 166 innings).

Bad luck for Padilla: Vicente Padilla, who was scratched from Saturday's start after straining his back in his last outing May 21 against Baltimore, is working his way back to health.

"He's getting treatment, running, doing his work," said Manuel. "He missed his turn this time and we haven't decided on his next one."

The off days Thursday and next Monday actually work in the Phillies' favor as far as allowing Padilla (1-5, 7.03 ERA) to rest.

On deck: Right-hander Brett Myers looks for his fifth win -- and second this season against the Braves -- when he battles Atlanta ace Tim Hudson in the finale of the series, beginning Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Jon Cooper is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.