Much of the Phillies recent success in shoring up a winning homestand can certainly be attributed to Jimmy Rollins’ 21-game hitting streak. Though, I remember last week when I kept hearing of the streak and was unimpressed because the Phils were losing, especially to Houston. But now it seems to be helping the club win games. Why is that? you might ask. Well, it has to do with the number of hits Rolllins is getting each night. Whereas the first 2 weeks of the streak were mostly 1-hit games, the past week has seen a series of multi-hit games. In fact, in the past 8 games JRoll has had 3 hits in 5 games, including a handful of doubles.
That is how you win ballgames, when your leadoff hitter gets on base. He’s not going to score every time, but giving the cleanup hitters the chance to get some RBI’s is key. Don’t get me wrong the Phils’ middle of the lineup has plenty of chances to drive runners in. Last night for instance, 12 runners were left on base – 5 in the first 2 innings. But of course they’re not gonna be crossing the plate unless they’re trotting to the sound of a giant lit-up bell. The Phils hit two homers last night accounting for 3 of the 4 runs; one by Ryan Howard who continued to make his case for NL rookie of the year.
So one other note from last night’s game, which also doubled as a end of the year party for PhilliesNation employees, was the attendance, or lack thereof. This week has certainly had its share of small crowds which are attributable to the beginning of school, the Eagles, and the general dissatisfaction over the Phils’ inconsistency. The Inky’s Phil Sheridan writes about this today saying that maybe the Phillies strech run is best played on the road away from the apathy of the fans. I don’t think so, CBP is too much of an advantage for a team that relies so heavily on the long ball. I may take this up with Phil during his live chat at Philly.com starting in a few minutes.
UPDATE: I did talk to Phil, here’s a snippit of the transcript:
Phillies_Nation: Phil – don’t you think CBP is too much of an advantage for a team that relies so heavily on the long ball to suggest that the Phils should play their strech run on the road?
Phil_Sheridan> The odd thing is that, like last year, the cheap homers seem to decline in frequency as the season goes on. Have you noticed that? The ones that have gone out on the last homestand look like they would have gone out anywhere…But you make a good point. I was talking mainly about the lack of pressure playing away from those empty seats and booing fans.
Phillies Nation: Oh, I agree. The empty seats and booing fans are tough. But it’s not like it isnt deserved.
Phil Sheridan> What gets complicated, though, is this. It is deserved, based on the history of the team and the way it has been run. But if you’re Ryan Howard or Chase Utley — guys for whom Curt Schilling is some old Red Sox pitcher — it sours you on the fans here. So we’re starting a new cycle of us-against-them.
That final quote is an interesting point. I’m gonna think about it and whether we should be nicer to the new guys despite team name on their jersey….for a later post….
Finally, with all this talk of JRoll coupled with Jim’s correct answer, we shall reveal that the trivia answer was indeed Chuck Klein. Kleinie did in fact have 2 26-game hitting streak during the 1930 season. Amazing!