HOUSTON – Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was clearly upset after the Phillies were swept in a four-game series against the Astros, especially by the lack of production by the offense.
Here’s a partial transcript of his almost stream-of-consciousness remarks:
“They swept us. Four straight. They outplayed us. They deserved to win. We’re not going to win many games playing like that. I mean, we had a bad series. And that’s saying it lightly, I guess . . .
“If we continue playing like that, it’s going to be hard for us to win (many games). It’s that simple. We did almost everything you could do to lose. You name it. Go over each game. They hit. And we didn’t. We had three guys on third (Sunday) and didn’t knock any of ‘em in. We didn’t execute when we had chances. We didn’t get the big hit. We couldn’t get a two-out hit. And we didn’t pitch when we had to.
“(Emergency starter Jamie) Moyer was good. Moyer was really good. But we didn’t pitch when we had to. That’s the bottom line in this series. Any time we had to hit, we didn’t hit. Any time we had to pitch, we didn’t. Go back and think about it. They did. We didn’t.
“It was a bad series, a rough series for us. The way we played.
“A lot of our guys were on our team last year. And I think we definitely know how to play. But when I see us chasing balls on the ground, chase ‘em in the dirt, swing at balls over their head, we’re talking about professional hitters. So, yeah, I start to wonder about it. I don’t know what it is. Are they trying too hard? Are they tight?
“We have no reason to be tight. But you know what? I kind of sense that with some of those at bats we put on, that we don’t have a clue what we’re doing. That’s what I see. And if you watch you’ll see it, too.
“Hey, when we’ve got guys on base, the pitcher’s the one that’s in trouble. Especially with less than two out. The pitcher is in trouble. Not the hitter. What is offense? Offense is offense. That’s why it’s called offense. You’re hitting and you’re up there with runners in scoring position or the bases loaded, the hitter is offensive.
“But when you’re chasing balls on the ground and in the dirt and that stuff, I’d call that defensive. It don’t work.
“You can go around and talk to them. You can tell them in batting practice and things like that. But we’re in September. Damn, if we ain’t got it by now we ain’t never going to get it.
“We were sitting in a real good position before we came in here. We’re still in a good position. But, I mean, we’ve got to play, man. We’ve just got to play and win some games.
“It’s been kind of leading up to this. It’s got to bottom out somewhere. . .
“I don’t know (if they’re not used to playing with a big lead in September). But I hear some of them talk. They say, ‘We’re a team that plays better when we have to, when there’s more pressure” and stuff like that. Well, I find that hard to believe when I see us play like we did (Sunday). What do you think?
“Hey, I don’t know. I played 20 years. I liked my chances of being relaxed and everything when we’ve got a nice lead. So that don’t register for me. I’m sorry.
“We have a lead, but that’s beside the point. (Bleep) the last couple years. What the hell? That don’t mean (bleep). We’re playing today. Right now. Hey, last year is dead and gone. We’re always playing for today. To hell with that.
“I don’t get that because I think when you have a lead, I’m thinking that you’re setting better than you are when you absolutely have to win that game that day. I think having a lead’s got to be better than that. I mean, I’ll take the lead. That’s what I’m trying to say.
“What happened in the past is gone. That’s how we played at that time. You know we played tremendous baseball last year the last five, six weeks of the season. Best baseball we’ve ever played. Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m not going to give our lead up and say, ‘OK, we’re going to start here even in the league.’ No, we ain’t going to do that. Because I don’t know if we’d come through or not. I like our chances better where we’re at. But at the same time, we have to win some games. That’s what I’m trying to say.
“What I see, the way we’re playing, we’re not playing good. When I see it and I see how we’re playing, I’ve got to think for us not to be able to knock runs in, I don’t care what anybody says. I’ve got to think we’re a little bit tight when I see guys swinging at balls on the ground and continually doing it two or three strikes in an at bat. Or way overanxious or something. I think my experience tells me that much.
Reliever Ryan Madson was unavailable for the Astros series with an apparent strained oblique. Charlie Manuel couldn’t say for sure whether he’d be available to pitch Monday night in Washington.
Manuel also said he wanted to stay away from closer Brad Lidge on Sunday “because I want to make sure he gets his finger well.” The manager didn’t want to elaborate, but a source said Lidge has been bothered by a blister. It’s unclear how long he’s had it.