For roughly 20 minutes, the doors remained shut, bottling up whatever emotion lay percolating inside. It isn’t clear what exchanges took place inside the Phillies clubhouse tonight – manager Charlie Manuel sent word that he would not be making any post-game comments – but when the room finally opened to reporters, the only discernible sound was the ringing of a cell phone from inside the pocket of a clubhouse attendant who was carrying a pile of dirty uniforms to a bin across the room.
Manuel had spent much of the previous week warning of a bursting of the dam, and after a 24-year-old rookie held the Phillies hitless for six innings en route to a 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays, the time might have been nigh.
“I think we all understand what we need to do to win,” said second baseman Chase Utley, who had two of the Phillies three hits in their 11th loss in 13 games. “We just have to play better baseball, and that really is the bottom line. When you lose, it’s frustrating. When you lose over the course of a couple weeks, it’s even more frustrating. So nobody is happy in here. But definitely, nobody is giving up.”
Whether this most recent loss represents the cellar floor that all struggling teams need to reach before they begin to re-ascend, or just another landing in what has been a steady decline, remains to be seen.