Through Sunday the Phillies, the NL's top scoring team last year, were just ninth in runs with 308, and they had averaged a mere 3.3 runs in a 9--17 stretch that left them third in the NL East. The absence of Jimmy Rollins(below), who had missed those 26 games with a calf strain, was the biggest reason for the lack of runs. His replacements at shortstop, Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro, have combined for a .254 OBP. His replacement in the lineup, Shane Victorino, has a .329 OBP in the leadoff spot. Pair that with the .339 mark from the team's No. 2 hitters, and the offense is starved of base runners. Rollins's scheduled return this week will make all the difference to a team that has struggled but is still the division favorite.
AL TIELEMANS (ROLLINS)