Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ain't Nobody Gonna Steal This Jelly Roll

Jelly Roll has been congealing for a month like the brown tacky blood on a bed sheet stained with an old mother’s menses.

They prefer to call him “JRoll,” of course, but our leadoff hitter’s bat has been about as useful as the familiar confection after that distracting 38-game hitting streak ended. You know it’s bad when his numbers are nearly identical to Sal Fasano’s.

Coming into last night’s game against the Brewers, the gelatinous JRoll was hitting .242 with a .306 on base percentage so far. When you consider The Italian Sausage has a better batting average (a catcherish .245) and an accompanying .302 OBP, somebody here ain’t earning the keys to his Bentley.

So as our intrepid, gooey Jelly Roll -- who never saw a first pitch he didn’t like, and walks about as often as the streets get cleaned in Calcutta – dug in tonight to face somebody named Dave Bush, how could you expect anything less than the ordinary disappointment?

We got the regular treatment from Jelly Roll. He didn’t work deep counts. He couldn’t get a runner in scoring position home with two outs. He had a quick at-bat that barely allowed Scared Shitless Gavin Floyd to sit down. The Phils already had left ten runners on who were ready and able to score before JRoll got his chance for redemption in the ninth. He succeeded in keeping an impressive comeback going after a David Fucking Bell walk – yes, Jelly Smelly, they still issue walks - cueballing a hit past Milwaukee’s defensively-challenged second baseman. And he did score a run as part of the three-run inning in which the Phils tied the game, 7-7, before Arthur Rhodes fell apart in the bottom of the inning and lost it.

But dear fans, commiserate with me, would you? Imagine if our sticky shortstop hadn’t taken an 0-for-4 collar before the fifth at-bat? You’d have to say if the leadoff man gets on base, things happen. Runs score. Pitchers pitch from the stretch. But do we get that from Jelly Roll? Shit, Rollins, for all his “speed,” has managed only six steals this season because you can’t steal first. And, as I pointed out, The Italian Sausage sees that base on a more frequent basis per at-bat than our shortstop. Fat Prince Fielder, who looks as if he will eat himself out of the league like his obese Pops, has three thefts himself. And, oh my faithful Philly legions, have you noticed that the guy who’s supposed to get on base has but 13 walks – one-third the amount as Bobby “Corky” Abreu, who refuses to bat leadoff?

One theory for his hitting hard-headedness is the wasted time he spent with MC Hammer, who was the Oakland A’s batboy who parlayed his wood-fetching skills into a vaguely successful hip-hop career. Maybe something is still making him jumpy. I don’t care what the fuck it is, but Chollie the Manager would be advised to take Hammer’s lyrics to heart and bust a move on Jelly Roll to the eighth slot in the lineup. He’s reminding me more of the puny Larry Bowa years of the early 70s, a slick-fielding gnat who had no stick until he met Dave Cash. I’ll tell you one thing he could do: Bunt. Yet the good ole boys in the booth laugh it off every time Smelly Jelly swings away, another at-bat down the drain, and quickly.

They know it. I know it. And so does the blind lady holding this on her scales: Fasano .269, Jelly Roll .241.

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