When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Jimmy Rollins in the offseason, they expected much more than production on the field from the veteran shortstop.
Rollins struggled out of the gate on the field, hitting under .230 since the second week of the season. Although he has provided an upgrade from previous shortstops on defense, Rollins already has more errors this season than he did last year. Despite the struggles, the Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly have stuck with the 36-year-old because of his veteran presence and leadership, as well as his knowledge of what it takes to win a World Series.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Rollins is ready to see what the Dodgers can do down the stretch:
This time of year, playing against teams in it, it’s more of a character test,” said Rollins. “Get to find out what we’re made of, who can control emotions the best. I was very interested coming to the park and seeing what we’re made of.”
The Dodgers have enjoyed the leadership and improved defense up the middle from Rollins, but now they are seeing production at the plate. In his last 15 games, the former MVP is hitting .316 with nine extra-base hits and 10 runs scores. During the Dodgers loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, Rollins had three hits, two RBIs and a key defensive play to backpick a runner at first.
Even though they lost, the Oakland-born shortstop liked what he saw from the Dodgers:
Tonight actually showed me a lot. I’m pretty happy with the way we fought back and battled against Gerrit Cole, a fine pitcher in his own right. We can do better with our attitude and controlling emotions and find ways to win games.”
At this point in his career, you hardly see Rollins show any negative emotion or visible frustration, even when he was struggling. If he can get his teammates to have the same mentality, then the stretch run can be a better time.