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.