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Clifton for the Sweep, Plus J-Roll Speaks

Jul 25, 2011, 12:06 PM EDT

Cliff Lee takes the hill today as the Phillies look for a four-game sweep of the Padres. Plus, Jimmy Rollins spoke in-depth about his future with the club

Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.83) toes the rubber this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park and will take on right-hander Aaron Harang (8-2, 3.29) as the Phillies look to continue their hot play of late and sweep the Padres out of town. The Fightins have taken the first three of this four game series with San Diego, and if they can earn the victory today, it will be their second consecutive four-game sweep of the Pads this season.

It’s an early 1:05 pm start this afternoon from South Philadelphia.

We thought we’d use this game thread to take a look at what young James Calvin Rollins had to say about a wide range of topics. J-Roll spoke at length with Delaware Online’s David Hale about how he’s feeling physically, how he’s been swinging the bat, how he keeps refueling the tank after all these years, and how he would feel if things didn’t work out next season and Jimmy had to put on another team’s uniform.

You can read Hale’s article about Jimmy or opt for the full transcript of their discussion here.

There are plenty of insightful quotes from Rollins, and we could have highlighted many of them, but Jimmy on his approach is quite interesting.

Q. It’s not that you’ve changed who you are as a player, but
your walk rate is up this year, you’re seeing more pitches, swinging at
fewer first pitches.

A. It’s a little different, yeah. You just get
smarter. My approach hasn’t changed, you just get smarter with it.
There’s certain things that you naturally become better at. You start
recognizing it. You make adjustments. My approach is the same. I’m going
to be aggressive. Sometimes, it’s like — I don’t feel like swinging at
the first pitch. Other days, I’m swinging. You find what works. Some
days I don’t have the energy to swing at the first pitch, so I look for a
walk. You take a couple pitches and then you start getting into a
rhythm of the at-bat and can carry that through the whole game. In the
past, you feel a little tired – well, I’m going to make something
happen. I should go out there and force something to happen. It usually
doesn’t work out that way.

The second thing that sticks out, as Jimmy mentions above, is his energy or lack there of.

Perhaps all of that Red Bull is failing to give him wings as advertised.

From watching Rollins play the field, you wouldn’t have thought for a second he has lost a step, is lacking energy, or is banged up. Jimmy’s still a world class defender.

But occasionally you see him run to first on a basically routine ground out and his foot isn’t exactly on the gas pedal. We know Jimmy’s a bit banged up and getting older, but Hale’s quotes from Rollins really make it seem worse than I had thought it actually was.

Jimmy on his thought process on stealing:

The way I choose to steal a base or the situation is always the same. If
it’s a base I have to steal, I’m going to steal it. If I don’t
necessarily have to steal it, it’s how do I feel today? How are my legs?
I’m not just going to run if I’m not feeling good and take a chance of
getting thrown out. If it’s a situation where I absolutely have to go,
the adrenaline takes care of you. My legs are a little tired today, my
knee’s bothering me – but I have to go. And then you make that first
move and it’s like – whoosh. Then you stop and it’s like, oh shoot that
hurts. But during that time you do what you have to do and it doesn’t
bother you.

At least we know he can get the job done when he absolutely needs to, but do those sound like quotes from a guy you’d give big money and big years to?

Make no mistake about it, Jimmy Rollins is one of the Phillies leaders and we most certainly hope to see him back at Citizens Bank Park next season and beyond. But will Jimmy and his agent see eye-to-eye with Ruben Amaro Jr.?

J-Roll says, after spending his entire career in Philly, he doesn’t get attached.

“I’ve never been attached to anything. I understand everything is temporary,” Rollins told Hale.

I’m not sure I believe him though.

>>Rollins Talks About His Season, His Role & His Future [Philled In]