Rollins ends postseason funk at just the right time

Still in uniform, Jimmy Rollins got to his locker in the

Phillies’ clubhouse, put his bats

away, and picked up his phone.

“I guess it was a good night – 30 messages,” Rollins said.

One connection with a 95-m.p.h. fastball, the ball landing high

on the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field, clearing the

loaded bases – Citizens Bank Park again was chanting “J-Roll!”

Coming into Game 2 of the National League Championship Series,

Rollins had one single to show for 15 postseason at-bats. In Game

1, he had some of the more-significant misses of the night, going

hitless with three strikeouts.

“I’ve been the same for the last 10 years,” Rollins said after

his four RBIs in the 6-1, Game 2 NLCS victory over San Francisco,

talking about how his self-confidence never left the building. “You

figure out things. You solve problems. Sometimes there’s going to

be confusion. But once you lose the confidence, you’re not going to

have a chance to play at this level. God gave me this talent. I’m

going to do something with it. That’s just the way it is.”

Sunday night, pitcher Roy Oswalt singled with a bat borrowed

from Rollins.

“The BAT still has hits,” Rollins told himself.

Right after Game 1,

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had

said how he was “very concerned about him hitting . . . We need to

try to get him hitting.” After Game 2, Rollins did his best spot-on

impression of his manager, saying: “That’s part of it.”

Rollins then translated: “You’re the guy that he chose, and

until you run yourself into the ground, he’s going to keep pushing

you out there. As a player you say, ‘You know what, I have a chance

today. I didn’t do anything, but tomorrow I know I’m going to be

out there, and I have a chance tomorrow.’ “

If the bases-clearing double was a big hit, an earlier Rollins

at-bat had given the

Phillies their first lead in a game

this series, after the shortstop worked a bases-loaded, two-out

walk from Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez, who found himself behind

before he even gave up a hit.

Manuel said before the game that he had considered moving

Rollins up from the sixth spot in the order to his more-customary

leadoff position – just to shake up a lethargic

Phillies offense. Then the

Phillies’ manager changed his mind

as he analyzed the numbers.

“When I looked, I liked him right where he was at, because I

look at how he’s been doing and also the fact that how we lined up

against Sanchez,” Manuel said.

“Victorino’s got some hits on Sanchez,” the

Phillies’ manager added. “I think

he’s like 5 for 16 or something. Jimmy’s 1 for 16. . . . I like

Jimmy down there where he’s at right now.”

Manuel had talked about how he’d seen Rollins in offensive funks

many times before. He’d seen Rollins come out of them, too.

Rollins said he’d heard the place chant his name before,

too.

“All you can do is smile,” he said.

Rollins also knows that the postseason is a long haul to

success. Even after a four-RBI night, he won’t judge himself

yet.

“Sometimes you just put a good swing on a ball, find some gap,

and everything looks like it’s fantastic,” Rollins said. “And for

that time, it is.”

Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or

mjensen@phillynews.com.