The Los Angeles Dodgers were shut out in a fourth consecutive road game Friday and were in danger of dropping a three-game series with another loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday. Yasmani Grandal was activated from the seven-day disabled list, which figured to provide a little extra punch to the lineup, but manager Don Mattingly also made a decision many were calling for.
Jimmy Rollins was dropped to eighth in Saturday’s lineup, making it the first time he’s started but hasn’t batted either leadoff or in the two-hole this season. Mattingly had deflected questions over potentially moving Rollins down in recent weeks, instead stating his confidence in the shortstop’s ability to turn his luck around.
Rollins was replaced by Justin Turner, who batted second Saturday and went 2-for-4, including a sixth-inning double that broke up Michael Wacha’s no-hit bid. According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, Rollins is comfortable with the change and something he’d given thought to:
I’m OK with it,” Rollins said. “It’s nothing I hadn’t thought of.”
As he’s done in weeks prior, Rollins mentioned putting his struggles into perspective over the course of a 162-game season:
It doesn’t shake you,” he said. “Being a veteran player, you already have a track record, you’ve already established you can play here. Yes, you still want everybody to know that you can still play here, but you also get that it’s a long season. You can’t get down, you can’t get discouraged.”
The initial return on moving Rollins to eighth in the lineup didn’t reap immediate benefits as he was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the Cardinals. The timing of the change was also interesting as Rollins had put together a modest six-game hitting streak that raised his average to .210 heading into Saturday’s game.
Since arriving in Los Angeles for his introductory press conference, Rollins has maintained his focus is on winning a World Series. The veteran shortstop is in the final year of his contract and is widely viewed as a bridge to Corey Seager, who was promoted to Triple-A at the beginning of May for the first time in his young career.
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