Is this finally when Jimmy Rollins turns it around for the Dodgers?

Is this finally when Jimmy Rollins turns it around for the Dodgers?
In his last eight games, Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins has hit .323 (10 for 31). (David Santiago / TNS)

There is he, all tucked away in the No. 8 spot. All quiet and everything. Accepting his lineup demotion from the leadoff spot without complaint.

Jimmy Rollins has not proved to be a great success at the plate for the Dodgers this season, necessitating his switch to the less significant spot in the lineup.


It hardly appeared some magical adjustment when first initiated. Rollins was hitting .210 at the time of his demotion and then proceeded to hit .159 in his next 20 games. Celebrations were a tad hard to come by.

Only now Rollins is beginning to look more comfortable in his new role and again giving hope that he is starting to turn his season around offensively. In his last eight games, Rollins has hit .323 (10 for 31).

He has done it without any particular power (no homers, two doubles), and perhaps of more concern, without a single walk. Drawing walks when you're hitting in front of a pitcher can be something of a mixed bag, but as Joc Pederson clearly demonstrated before the switch, that doesn't mean you cannot excel at it.

The Dodgers have been patient with Rollins, 36, while cries built to bring up phenom Corey Seager. The Dodgers have wisely not rushed Seager — who just turned 21 in April — and are allowing him to work his way through the system at his own pace.

And if Rollins was struggling at the plate, he was hardly without value. He was still giving a top-tier defense at short, teaming with Howie Kendrick to provide strong defensive play up the middle. Plus, he is pretty much the leader advertised.

Of course it's possible he might be an even more vocal leader if he were contributing more consistently at the plate. In this lineup, the Dodgers don't really need him to be at his prior MVP form, but neither can they afford an offensive black hole.

He's a career .266 hitter, with some speed and power. If he can just approach his average production, the Dodgers would be thrilled. At his age, that's no guarantee.

Rollins has had other flirtations with turning his season around that went awry. He actually had hit .300 in his last 13 games before being moved to the No. 8 spot, and then things went south again.

So nothing is assured with his improved recent play, though he does appear to be hitting the ball more sharply. Maybe this fades too, or maybe it's finally the start of something where that No. 8 spot is not so quiet.