NEW YORK -- It might have been a drought on paper, but it didn't feel like one. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins snapped a streak of 161 at-bats without a home run on Saturday, but he said on Sunday that he didn't really know the particulars and that he wasn't particularly relieved to have gone deep.
"I knew about it because it was in an article. Other than that I had no idea," said Rollins of snapping his homerless streak. "I don't know how to put it, but it wasn't even in my mind. I'm trying to get some doubles. That's what I'm really trying to do. It feels like I haven't doubled in a long time."
And on that count, the three-time All-Star is precisely correct. Rollins has doubled just once in July, and he didn't hit for much power in June either. He has just three doubles and the lone home run since the beginning of June, and he's slugged just .297 in his last 165 at-bats.
Rollins is back in his customary leadoff slot, but he also spent some time this season batting third. He changed roles to accommodate the team when Chase Utley was on the disabled list, and he even asked Utley for advice on hitting in the heart of the order.
Now Utley's back in the third spot, and cleanup man Ryan Howard is on the DL. All-Star Domonic Brown has moved into the cleanup slot, and Rollins is back igniting the team from the top spot. Interestingly, he said he enjoyed his time hitting third.
"When I started going back to [leadoff], they pitched me similar in some ways but different in other ways," he said. "Hitting third, I wasn't getting first-pitch fastballs. I knew they were going to tinker around, and you find yourself in a lot better hitting counts, because that's how they pitch you. When you're a leadoff guy, they're not trying to get you in hitting counts. They're trying to get you out as fast as possible and not have you on base. Being aggressive in the three-hole doesn't necessarily work."
Rollins, the National League's Most Valuable Player in 2007, is on pace for the lowest slugging percentage (.352) of his career, but he's not particularly concerned about the numbers. He knows he has a track record, and he is confident he will close strong in the season's final months.
"There are no midway reports," he said. "After the season, then we can evaluate everything."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less