000 000 000 x 3 = Time to Talk

Charlie Manuel got agitated yesterday afternoon when asked if he would hold a team meeting if the Phillies could not break from its offensive funk.

He said he hated meetings. He downplayed their importance. He recalled how players made fun of the manager during them, and how players leaned to their teammates and said, “God, I wish I could fight him right now.”

But it’s funny what another shutout will do.

Manuel held a relatively short meeting following a 5-0 loss last night to the Mets, and here is why:

  • The Phillies have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 7-8, 2008.
  • They have been shut out three times in four games for the first time since June 23-26, 1990.
  • They have been scoreless in 37 of the past 38 innings.
  • They have not scored a run in 28 innings against the last four starting pitchers they have faced: eight scoreless innings against Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday, eight scoreless innings against Tim Wakefield on Sunday, six scoreless innings against R.A. Dickey on Tuesday and six scoreless innings against Hisanori Takahashi on Wednesday.

Manuel likes to say how teams can’t help but look dead when they aren’t scoring runs. But this current slump appeared different to him. He saw a lack of hustle, a lack of enthusiasm. So he decided to speak up.

“I’d like for us to pick it up a little bit,” he said. “I’d like for us to be more intense and get a little fire about us.”

*

Manuel’s anti-meeting remarks before last night’s game reminded me of Larry Bowa‘s anti-meeting remarks before a game in Montreal on Aug. 28, 2003. The Phillies had lost eight of nine games, but Bowa said he absolutely had no plans to hold a meeting. Then the Phillies lost 4-0 to the Expos and he blew up. I mean blew up. Brett Myers got into it with Joe Kerrigan and everything. Crazy times.

The Phillies held a player-only meeting on the bus to the Montreal airport and the next night Pat Burrell snubbed Bowa after hitting a home run at Shea Stadium. Tyler Houston, who was the best pinch-hitter in the NL at the time, took the fall and was gone the next day.

Last night’s meeting was relatively short and sweet. From what I gather, Manuel did not raise his voice much, if at all. He said a few things and everybody went about their business.

*

The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

19 Comments

Wow. I never realized that was Tyler Houston’s last time in majors. Kind of sad…

One thing that has held true all year is if the leadoff guy is getting on (Jroll or Vic) the team scores and wins. We they don’t we resemble last year’s Nats. Since Vic is in a HUGE slump, perhaps it’s time to shake up the lineup and bat Werth 1st, with Shane hitting either 5 or 6. Alternatively, Bat Polanco leadoff with Vic hitting 2nd. Also, stop using the bench as starters for a few games. Yes, we need them to play, but not when no one is hitting. But the best 8 out there until the bats return from their midseason vacation

Everybody gets so upset so fast when the Phillies go under like this and think it’s the end of them, but if everybody will remember when they go into a rut like this they end up playing some very good ballgames mostly in a row to put themself’s ahead of the game. I have faith in the Phillies they sure do know how to come back and good ball again! Tony

If you project out what has happened up to this point in the season the Phillies will win the NL East by about 7.5 games. The magic number is down to 115.

It’s been just plain ugly. Hope Charlie’s chat with the team snaps them out of it.

The last few loses wouldn’t bother me so much, if two of them weren’t against the Mutts. And not just because they’re the Mutts, but because they’re a pretty lousy team this year.
Then again…..The Phils have a history of not being able to win, against bad teams. They better step it up against Atlanta & the Fish! These are all Division rivals!

I was in an NYC bar last night and couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the TV. 5-0 Mets? I was briefly convinced they were replaying the game from the night before. As I always say with these things, the Mets weren’t winning, the Phillies were simply losing.

These are the times when I miss players like Rowand, who had no problem calling out his teammates. There are leaders in this clubhouse too, but none of them as vocal. And while Bowa had his moments, he knew how to light a fire under guys when he needed to. I love Charlie, but sometimes the kinder, gentler approach falls short. They will come around…I just hope it is soon.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

No worries here about the bats, they’ll come around.

Read Werth shaved his beard (except for the “goatee”) in an effort to break the slump.

There’s only one place for them to go from here, up. There’s going to be hell to pay for what ever team it is that’s opposing the Phils when they get their **** together.

karen62: I again want to apologize if my comments the other day offended you. But I also want to let you and other posters here know that I use Mozilla-Firefox rather than Explorer and its spell checker works on this site. And it is superior in that it indicates spelling errors on the fly.

pherrisphain: No offense taken. I guess I’m at the mercy of IE since most times I comment here I’m at work. So if a typo happens to slip through….c’est la vie :-)

Karen, it’s unforgivable to make English spelling mistakes and spell French phrases correctly. lol….Sorry, pherrisphain. I know that wasn’t funny either.

It’s nice to know that the last time the Phils got shutout in back-to-back games in a season was the year they won the World Series.

I’m not sure what any of pherris’ math has to do with the present situation. If only Mozilla Firefox indicated idiotic baseball comments on the fly…

another point for muleman !

muleman: Is this another one of your attempts at comedy? Sarcasm?

Why don’t the Phillies hire a hitting coach who knows what he is doing and make the players take extra batting practice even if its 3:00 AM til they wake up and start hitting like they have the talent to do or fine the players for not doing what they are being paid to do.

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