LOS ANGELES -- In a case of fortuitous timing, Jimmy Rollins moved back into the leadoff spot on Wednesday, just as he continued his hot streak. Rollins tripled and doubled in the Dodgers' 10-7 win over the Athletics.
It was the 113th triple of Rollins' career, and his second this season. In his last seven games, Rollins has three home runs, two doubles and a triple. Before that, he had six extra-base hits in his previous 33 games.
"I've just been able to I guess do what I've always been able to do, which is stay on the ball, pulling balls and be able to hit up the middle," Rollins said. "Early on it was the other way, the other way, the other way, because I was coming around a lot of balls, and being able to pull the ball wasn't consistent."
Rollins' triple to lead off the third inning came batting left-handed, and was hit down the right field. His double in the eighth came batting right-handed, and was hit to left. Both extra-base hits were pulled, as were all three of his home runs at Citi Field against the Mets last weekend.
"It's all the work we've done, me, [hitting coach Mark McGwire] and [assistant hitting coach John Valentin], that I no longer have to think about those things, that they start to feel natural after a while with repetition after repetition," Rollins explained. "You stop thinking about it and just let it happen. Hopefully you get results, hopefully you get hits, but the first part of that is just trying to put together good at-bats, trying to get pitches that you can handle."
It has been a disappointing year at the plate for Rollins, hitting .213/.270/.361 even after his recent hot streak. But he hasn't let it affect his defense or his work ethic, both of which have been praised by manager Don Mattingly.
"Jimmy's just a guy that's going to keep playing, kind of the opposite of Joc [Pederson]. He's not going to panic with his swing or change what he's doing. He's going to stay with the program," Mattingly said. "He's been doing this long enough to know the ebbs and flows of the game, and he's not going to fight it. He's going to keep going out there and not be concerned about what happened a month ago."
Nearly one month ago, at the end of June, Rollins was at .208/.262/.326 on the season, but in July he is hitting .233/.300/.493.
"There weren't down times in any mental matter. There was a down average, not getting on base, not getting hits, all those things to help your team win I wasn't able to do them. But as they say, steady as they go," Rollins said. "You have to keep something consistent just to have something to stand on. Trying to have a good approach, work counts, hopefully getting hits but if not hopefully you've seen five or six pitches and you took good swings that would translate to hits later, but it just wasn't happening.
"It never changed my mindset of what my job was to do on both sides of the ball. Fortunately I'm starting to get those hits now."