Charlie Manuel has run out of patience the same way his team has run out of ways to win a baseball game. Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves was the Phillies fifth in a row and 13th out of the last 14 games.
And Manuel and losing pitcher Cliff Lee didn’t spare any feelings on this sinking ship. Recently, the postgame press conference have been more interesting than the games and Sunday was one of those nights.
John Mayberry Jr. who was picked off second base that ended a Phillies fifth inning rally, is among many players who have tested Manuel’s patience.
Manuel, usually protective of his players in public, is obviously at his boiling point.
“I can’t explain how the guy can be holding him on and he has a short lead and he doesn’t have what you call a lead at all and he is picked off,” Manuel said. “I am not throwing him under any bus, that is what I saw.”
This is not Mayberry’s first base-running blunder of the season and Manuel has apparently seen enough.
“When you play the way we are now, you have to really be concentrating on staying focused and playing the game right and cutting down and limiting mistakes,” Manuel said. “At the same time too, the more you see mistakes and see somebody keep making mistakes over and over and over, that might tell you what type of player he is.”
Before, Manuel has gone out of his way to say the effort is there, but not the results. He did that as recently as Saturday, following a 5-4 loss in 12 innings to the Braves. Now Manuel is inferring that effort is missing.
“I think they have to show more hunger, definitely when they are hitting,” Manuel said.
And Lee concurred with manager.
“We are just getting beat and have to do a better job of executing, playing fundamental baseball,” Lee said. “We need a little more fire and drive behind us and if we do those things we will be alright.”
The inconsistency of this team is what is really driving up the frustration meter for Manuel.
“Of course we are very inconsistent,” Manuel said. “At times I feel the situation on our team we definitely get out-talented but that doesn’t give us any reason why we really can’t concentrate and stay focused on at bats and playing the game right.”
Lee, like his manager, knows the problem, but finding the solution is more difficult.
“We are getting out-played all the way around, out-pitched, out-hit, better defense,” Lee said.
That pretty much sums it up.
When asked if he said anything to his team after the game, Manuel gave a telling response.
“I didn’t say nothing to the team,” he said. “I will say something to them but at the moment, I don’t know what to say.”
As the recent results show, Manuel is currently out of answers.