As I’m sure you have heard, the Phillies entered tonight’s game with the Marlins in the midst of a total free fall. No series wins in a month. A 4-11 record over their past 15 games that has not happened by accident. A dismal .237 team batting average, a league-worst defense in terms of defensive runs saved, and a seemingly drained group of overachieving starting pitchers have combined to paint a bleak outlook on the team’s rapidly fading playoff hopes.
What is a manager to do? Juggling the lineup and staying positive haven’t worked. In the end, nothing may prevent the disappointing conclusion to this season that feels increasing inevitable, but I give Gabe Kapler credit. He’s still searching for a solution. His latest attempt involves turning to Jimmy Rollins, a guy who knows a thing or two about setting the tone for a late-season comeback, for help:
Jimmy Rollins is back in uniform with Phillies for next few games in Miami
Gabe Kapler wanted him to help guide Phillies back from a division deficit again
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 4, 2018
It should go without saying that this current Phillies team is just a bit different from that 2007 group. I don’t see a National League MVP manning shortstop, a second baseman with a .976 OPS, or a first baseman with 47 homers out there on the field tonight. Truthfully, they don’t possess a shred of the offensive firepower that team had, but, and I know nobody wants to hear this, they are also not as bad as they have played over the past month. According to FanGraphs, the Phillies entered play tonight with a 24.5% chance to win the NL East. I like the idea of bringing in a well-respected guy like Rollins to share his perspective on overcoming steep odds:
In 2007 Jimmy Rollins said beginning of the year that the Phillies would overtake the Mets & win the NL East. They did & he was NL MVP… pic.twitter.com/sBulPn7uoj
— Stoned Philly Fan (@StonedPhillyFan) February 25, 2017
No snark. No eye roll from me on this one. Plus, at least for one night, Rollins’ presence seems to be helping. The Phillies’ offense has come alive, scoring eight runs through eight innings as I write this post. That’s more runs than they had managed in their previous four games combined, so screw it. I’m in.