Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 9/15/12

Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies Shortstop, is batting .306 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in the past two weeks. Not coincidentally, the once dead Phillies are back in the thick of the playoff race.Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies

A few weeks ago Jimmy Rollins was public enemy #1. Rollins has always been a lightning rod for controversy and this season has been no exception. After signing a contract extension in the offseason, it’s hard to say that the longtime shortstop has had a stellar year.

Rollins, as he has done in the past, was pulled from a game and benched recently for failing to hustle on a pop up to the pitcher. It was a widely chronicled story and worse yet, it was the second time in as many weeks he was guilty of not giving full effort.

Manager Charlie Manuel spoke with Rollins, as he had two weeks before that. Fans were plenty displeased and as usual Rollins showed very little remorse.

Since then, Rollins has gone back to doing what people in Philadelphia are more familiar with – leading. The Phillies were considered dead when Rollins was violating the golden rule of not hustling, but have now climbed back to within 3 games of their 6th straight postseason appearance. Rollins has had a lot to do with that.

Rollins led off last night’s 12-6 rout of the Houston Astros with his 20th home run of the season. He leads the team in that department. It was his 3rd homer in 4 games, two of which put the Phillies ahead in games that could make or break their season.

Last night Rollins ranged back to catch a shallow pop fly. Centerfielder John Mayberry ranged in and eventually called Rollins off of the play and made the catch. Afterward, Rollins and Mayberry exchanged some playful words and for the first time I can recall all season, Rollins flashed that million dollar smile. The one that lets you know he’s having fun again. It was a welcomed sight in this improbable stretch run.

In addition to smashing that home run and giving himself his fourth 20 home run season, Rollins has been resurgent over the last two weeks. In 12 games, Rollins is hitting .306 with 2 doubles, 4 homers, and 9 RBI in 49 AB to go along with 3 stolen bases. With the Phillies season on the line, it’s been good to see Rollins leading the charge.

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