Jimmy Rollins had as good a debut as he could’ve hoped for on Opening Day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres, the veteran shortstop drove a 3-2 pitch into the right field stands with two runners on to break a 3-3 tie and propel the Dodgers to a win.
Just like that, it seemed, the 2008 National League MVP who had hurt the Dodgers in several occasions in the playoffs had won over Chavez Ravine. Since then, however, Rollins’ first few weeks with the Dodgers have been far less spectacular.
Rollins’ batting average has plummeted to .186 and he also leads the Dodgers with four errors at shortstop, a position which the club hoped to have improved from last season. Nevertheless, when it comes to his approach at the plate, the 36-year-old Rollins has a big-picture outlook on his poor start, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Well, some people like to panic. That has never been my MO,” he said. “I have, what, 50, 60 at-bats, I’m not sure. So if these are my worst 50 at-bats this year – I’m glad they’re happening now. (If they are his worst at-bats) it’s going to be a very good year.”
Rollins was particularly bad at the plate when the Dodgers were swept by the San Francisco Giants last week, going 0-for-9 with three strikeouts. Despite that, he said he focuses more on maintaining a consistent approach rather than looking at results over a short period of time:
It’s hard to compute if you just look at numbers,” he said. “I’m getting myself in good counts, just not finishing it off. I know it’s coming. I’m hitting some off the end, some are getting in just a little bit. But the swing path is right. It’s just a click here, a click there.”
Compounding Rollins’ slow start with the bat is he’s drawn just nine walks and has a lowly .275 on-base percentage. Rollins will be able to redeem his poor performance last week as the Dodgers begin a three-game home series with the Giants on Monday, who he’s a career .231/.284/.408 hitter against.
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