Manuel: 'We Don't Put Anybody Away'

nats 0910.jpgThe Phillies have lost nine of their last 16 games, and seven of those losses have come against Pittsburgh, Houston and Washington.

What do those teams have in common?

They’re bad.

And that is what had Charlie Manuel so frustrated last night at Nationals Park. Sure, the Phillies scored five runs in the ninth inning — Matt Stairs snapped his 0-for-30 slump with a pinch-hit grand slam — to show some fight in a 9-8 loss to the Nationals, but they still lost to the worst team in baseball. And now their 8 1/2 game lead over the Marlins has turned into five with 24 games to play.

“We’ve been getting outplayed by second division teams,” Manuel said. “Our guys, especially the guys who were on our team the last couple years, know exactly what we’ve got to do. They know exactly how to get it. We’re playing right to the beat of basically who we’re playing. We’re just playing right with them. That’s how we played Pittsburgh. That’s how we played Houston. That’s how we played these guys. We were fortunate to beat (the Nationals) two out of three.

“We don’t put anybody away.”

Manuel and Jimmy Rollins talked about this just the other day.

“In a lot of ways I agree,” Rollins said. “There’s no doubt about it. But there are definitely times that we haven’t played down to our level of competition. I mean atmosphere and everything, not just the team. But it’s better to go on a bad stretch I guess against bad teams than against good teams. You do it against good teams you feel like, man, maybe we’re not good enough. Against bad teams it’s like, we’re just bad.”

I asked Rollins if there is any concern about letting their NL East shrink.

“Win by one,” he said. “There’s no pressure to win by 10. Win by one. We found that out a couple years ago. It doesn’t matter when we get there. You just hope to qualify and when you do qualify you hope to be playing your best. There’s no pressure to win by a certain amount of games because you have a lead. Win by one. That’s all it takes.”

But Shane Victorino said he doesn’t want things to get too close.

“We want to put ourselves in a situation where we still control our own destiny,” he said. “But yet we’re letting teams creep back in and giving them some kind of confidence. That’s the one thing that we fear. That we’re letting these teams have confidence. We shouldn’t let that happen.”

Here is another reason to get motivated for these final 24 games. The Phillies have the third-best record in the National League, which means they would open the NLDS on the road. If the season ended today, that would mean the Phillies and Dodgers would meet in the first round with the first two games at Dodger Stadium.

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Brad Lidge pitched the eighth inning, when the Phillies trailed, 8-2. He allowed a triple, but struck out Pete Orr and Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning.

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16 Comments

The one time I turn the game off in the 8th figuring they’re toast, they almost come from behind and win! SO glad Stairs FINALLY hit a bomb.

I wonder if Charlie needs to take the team out to the woodshed for a chat?

This is making me a bit nervous. With all the recent talk about the playoffs, I hope that didn’t put the whammy on them.

Let’s BEAT THE MUTTS!!

I’m not sure I like Rollins’ attitude. Win by 1? Why not put some pressure on yourself to step on their throats. Don’t let teams think they can come back. Remember, there’s 6 games against the Marlin the last two weeks. Do they want to be one game up?
karen: I think Charlie has already done the “wood shed” thing. I think the players need to adjust their own attitudes, and besides Rollins and Victorino, I don’t know what the rest of them are thinking. The only “whammys” they’re going to put on themselves will be self-inflicted.
Look at the big lead the Dodgers had. Now the Rockies are at their heels. That’s what happens. There are still 3 weeks left.

Sloppy. lethargic baseball the last two weeks. Considering who they have been playing they should have widened their lead instead of shrinking it. This isn’t the same team from the last two Septembers.
I certainlyhope they don’t think they can ‘big-time’ anybody because they are champions because, if so, they are in for a short October.

Not so sure they would be in LA.. chuckle. Both teams have a bit of a slide going. What say we both get it turned around this weekend!?

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

If they are indeed playing down to their competition, I’m not sure these next 7 games against the Mets and Nats will help them any. The Mets are coming off their own little losing streak too. Florida is playing the Nats this weekend, and I’m guessing that they won’t lose the series.

If things hold to form this weekend, the Phillies lead will be down to 3.5 by end of day Sunday.

phan: That’s a frightening prospect. The Braves, Brewers and the dreaded Astros are coming too.
One issue will be getting the game in tonight. I don’t think they could stand to lose Hamels to a rain delay – not with a doubleheader coming on Sunday.
Of course, I have a ticket to tonight’s game. I bought it early when I thought the game might be part of a fight for the division. I guess, in some ways, it is.

What’s left of that storm should mostly be gone by game time. If there is any lingering rain, it won’t be the kind that keeps them from playing. Dress appropriately. I’m going tomorrow.

I still think the Mets are going to play this series like their lives depend on it. They let the Fish sweep them and they’ll do it again in two weeks. If we get swept by the Mets or go 1-3, we’ll be flood with trolling Met fans for the rest of the season, calling Phils chokers. The Phils need to start playing every game like it’s a playoff game.

Here’s the breakdown of W-Ls for the rest of the season. If the Phils go 12-12, the Fish have to go 16-6 to catch them at +20 games over .500. That’s not likely, since they’d be finishing the season 23-7 (23-8 in Sept.& Oct.) Their only hope would be to win the head-to-head matchups. If they win all six (yeah, right!), they only need to play .500 ball against everyone else to win the division as long as the Phils do the same. It gets progressively harder for the Fish, the more games the Phils win in those matchups. The bottom line is if the Phils don’t make the playoffs, it will be the biggest choke in the history of MLB, far surpassing the Mets’ meltdown of ’07. I think we all agree that there is a ZERO% chance that will happen with this group of players and manager.

I was kind of looking forward to seeing the Phils get 4 guys with +100 RBIs, but I’m not so sure the other three guys will all make it. If they do, they’ll all be peaking at the right time.

For what it’s worth – in my resume of fandom – we stood behind our assigned seats in section 331 for the entire game, including Madson’s shaky save. Our seats were already soaked, so it seemed to make more sense to stand and be wet rather than just sit there.

I don’t own rain gear, so the best I could do was my long-sleeved thermal shirt and WS Champs cap, now soaked from the blowing rain out of center field.
All the while, watching the scoreboard and the hapless Nats win over the Marlin.
It was an announced sell-out, but clearly at least half the ticket buyers decided to stay home.

muleman – impressive persistence – standing the entire game – couldn’t you find something to put under you ? Get some rain gear. The Phillies seemed to want this one more, from my somewhat drier seat inside … Ruiz actually called time to wipe off his helmet and clear his eyes before hitting the SF driving in … Ibanez ? Madson through all strikes and 1 ball … he’s getting ahead of batters or giving up an early hit, it seems … Howard’s about to explode again … does anyone else feel it ?

It was a misty rain that didn’t turn nasty until the sixth inning or so, then the wind picked up a bit and the temperature dropped. There aren’t many places to stay dry at that ballpark. An umbrella would have been nice, but with the wind, the rain was blowing at us. I needed rain gear to stay dry. Usually when it rains, I’m smart enough to stay in, but I’ve made several wrong calls this season already.
Seems like Madson and Myers are picking up Lidge.

muleman, I traded tickets with a friend because I really thought the rain would stop and I wanted to see Cole pitch instead of Moyer. Good call for the game, not so much for the weather. I had my golf rain gear on, so I was OK with the rain, but we still didn’t sit in our seats for the last 4-5 innings.
Myers should have pitched the ninth. He only threw 6 pitches in the eighth. JMO.

phan: We said that about Myers too. I wondered why Charlie wouldn’t send him out in the 9th. All’s well that ends.
I had another rainy experience in Wilmington tonight. The Blue Rocks are in the Carolina League playoffs and last night and tonight were rainy affairs. Only about 300 in the stands, which is sad. Deciding game 5 on Sunday.
Oh, and … so much for Myers and Madson picking up Lidge. I heard the fan complaints on the radio on my way home from Wilmington.

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