With Dave having the night off, Paul Hagen reports from the ballpark that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called a team meeting before tonight's game against the Atlanta Braves.
By all accounts, Manuel didn’t rip into an underachieving group that had gone 13-20 since June 13, although his voice got a little loud at times. Instead, his message was largely constructive: That the Phillies are a better team than they’ve shown in the last month-and-a-half, that the players have to be accountable, that they just need to focus on playing hustling, smart baseball.
“I think there’s something missing on our team,” Manuel told reporters after the meeting. “It’s that little extra kick we had, that resilient effort. We need to get that shine back It wore off a chandelier. We need to get that back.”
“We're not good right now," he added. "We're inconsistent, and that leads to not being good. At times, it can help to talk about it. Hell, it can’t hurt nothing. But, believe me, meetings are something that you don’t necessarily need all the time. Really, that gets old, too.”
Centerfielder Shane Victorino said the meeting was positive.
“It was nice to have the manager sit us all down and tell us it was time to get going as a team," he said. "I don’t think it was sitting down yelling at us. We’re a good team. I think we’re a better team than we’ve been playing. We tried to sit us down and give us a pep talk about where we’re going.
“He’s the boss. Nobody disagreed with what he was saying. Everybody understood we all need to look at ourselves.”
The Phillies are home this weekend for three games against the Braves and then have Monday off before playing three games in Washington and three in St. Louis.
Also, third baseman Pedro Feliz was scratched with lower back tightness. Greg Dobbs started in his place.