Phillies would welcome a Rollins breakout

Phillies would welcome a Rollins breakout

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins relishes the big moments in baseball.

The moments are only getting bigger as the Phillies hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park. The series was tied after the Phillies blew a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium.

Pulse
Phillies at a glance
2009 record: 93-69
2008 record: 92-70
NL East champs
NLCS matchup:
Phillies at Dodgers
Postseason tix: Information

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
Madson: Back in business
Werth: Heart of the order
Rollins: Awaiting breakout
Focus: One game at a time
Manuel: Mix & match
Howard: Ready for lefties
Stairs: Shot reverberates
Manuel: New rules for 'pen
Blanton: Arm around team
Pedro: Return to spotlight
Ibanez: Eyes on prize
Rollins: '07 irrelevant
Lidge: Still an option
Lidge: Killer cutter
Roster: Mulling options
Ibanez: Perfect fit
Hamels: Path of the pros
Amaro: Bold decisions
Pedro: Elated to play part
Rollins: No more predictions
Hamels: Back in business
Pitching: Staff in flux
Manuel: Keeps 'em focused
Hamels: Aims for dominance
Lineup: Imperfect but solid
Lee: Ready for playoff debut
Howard: The evolution
Rollins: Excelling on defense
Rotation: Not just big two
Manuel: Steady as she goes
Rollins: Eyes on '09 drama
Howard: The 'Big Piece'
Lee: Lifting Phils' hopes

The Phillies could have used a little more offense Friday.

They could have used a little more Rollins.

Rollins entered Game 3 hitting .111 (1-for-9) with one run scored and one strikeout in the NLCS, and .214 (6-for-28) with one double, two runs scored and six strikeouts in the entire postseason. Rollins, the Phillies' leadoff hitter, ranked just sixth on the team in runs scored.

"Actually, from what I've seen, they're pitching him pretty tough," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Game 3. "At times he really works the count pretty good. He takes pitches. But the Dodgers have been getting ahead of him, and they've been throwing a lot of slow stuff. The other day I felt like [Dodgers right-hander Vicente] Padilla was aggressive with him, and he moved the ball in and out on him, and he made some real good pitches on Jimmy. I mean, they've been pitching Jimmy pretty tough. He'll be all right."

Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson agreed.

Rollins will be OK. But right now, Thompson said, Rollins "is hooking everything. He's trying to pull everything instead of working up the middle. Just work up the middle. That's the key."

The Phillies were 89-66 this season when Rollins played. They were 61-19 (.763) when he scored a run and 28-47 (.373) when he did not score a run. The Phillies are 482-221 (.686) when he has scored a run in his career, and 268-435 (.381) when he has not.

The team's record when Rollins scores a run often is overstated. For example, the Phillies are 40-11 (.784) this season when Pedro Feliz scores a run, 21-6 (.778) when Carlos Ruiz scores a run and 9-4 (.692) when Eric Bruntlett scores a run.

It isn't so much the fact that the Phillies typically win when Rollins scores -- they typically win when any player scores -- but because he is at the top of the lineup he has the most opportunities to score. They need him to get on base, and take advantage.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.