Results tagged ‘ losing streak ’
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.”
It’s tough to blame them. The Phillies have the best record in baseball, but have played like the Houston Astros since clinching the National League East on Saturday. They have looked deader than dead, losing six consecutive games and getting swept in their first three- or four-game series since Aug. 2010.
The Phillies have six games to play before Game 1 of the NLDS on Oct. 1.
“That’s definitely enough time, but we do have to pick it up,” Charlie Manuel said. “It’s time for us to kick it and get ready for the playoffs.”
If you watched tonight’s ugly loss you know Roy Oswalt pitched much better than his line indicated. He looks ready for the postseason. But the offense looks like it’s in the early stages of spring training. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley were a combined 0-for-36 with five walks in the series against the Nationals.
“I’ll give a bat to anybody that boos and if they want to go up to the plate and think it’s that easy I’ll be glad to give them my bat,” Victorino said. “We hear the frustration from the crowd. They’re deserving and (they have the right to) feel frustration, but as a player you can’t sit there and mope about it.”
It hasn’t helped the Phillies have been without Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence. Howard will be back in the lineup tomorrow night in New York. He will not play Saturday, but Manuel said he will turn Howard loose Sunday. Pence should be back Saturday.
Maybe that gets them going. Maybe the Phillies can just flip the switch.
Oswalt doesn’t sound like he’s a big believer in “flipping the switch.”
“I’ve seen teams with the best record get beat in the first round,” Oswalt said. “It’s really the hottest team going in. Hopefully the next six games we’ll turn it around and start playing a little bit better, but teams that are hot when the playoffs start are tough to beat.”