Manuel: This Is A Test
Charlie Manuel had to vent.
The Phillies have lost eight consecutive games since clinching the National League East on Sept. 17. They have not had an eight-game losing streak since 2000, when they finished 65-97 and had Omar Daal, Kent Bottenfield and Bruce Chen in the rotation, not Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. They are the first team in baseball history to lose eight-straight games after clinching a division or league title and the first to lose eight-straight games after winning their 98th game.
Manuel spoke to reporters for roughly five minutes in his office. He answered two questions. The answer to his second question lasted nearly four minutes.
He concluded with this: “Do we have time (to turn it around)? I don’t know. We’ll see. But also, too, it’ll be a test of how good we are. How about that? This will be a good test. This is the first time this year that we’ve actually gone bad. And it’s not a real good time to go bad. But at the same time – we’ll see. This is a good measuring stick for us. You might not like it, but it is. We’ve created it ourselves, so we’ll see. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
The crux of Manuel’s frustrations is his inability to put his everyday lineup on the field. He sounded like he feels hamstrung in terms of making out his lineup because of injuries and concerns about being cautious with players that have had injuries in the past, although he promised he would have his everyday lineup on the field in the series finale tomorrow.
“All of a sudden we want to get our guys who are hurting well,” he said. “All of a sudden we start giving them two and three days off, on one, off one, start deciding when to play them. Look around, and pretty soon you lose your mojo. You lose your time and you lose your rhythm. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been in the damn game for 50 years. I know exactly what I’m talking about. I preach about it every day. People hear it but they look at me like I’m stupid or crazy. Maybe I am. But that’s what’s happening. That’s what you’re seeing. We’re out of sync. We’re out of focus. We’re searching and nothing’s going right.
“We’ve got 98 wins. We were set to have the biggest year of any Philly team and we got out of sync. … We keep bouncing around, we keep doing things, we keep getting well and all of that – we’ve played all year with people hurting. Every day you play the game of baseball, you hurt. Somehow, you hurt. You have aches and pains – ankle, knee, elbow, whatever. Headaches. Believe me. You can ask anybody who ever played this game. I played this game for 20 years, I can tell you. When you lose focus and you get out of sync, you’ve got to get it back.”