Backed Into A Corner Again

Wasted: Ryan Howard's two two-run home runs last night against the Nationals.

Last Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field looked and felt like the worst loss of the season.

Last night's 9-7 loss to the Nationals might have topped it.

The Nationals are a bad team. In fact, they entered last night's game at Nationals Park with the worst record in baseball.

The Phillies had a one-run lead in the seventh, but blew that when a tired Chad Durbin allowed a solo home run to Ryan Zimmerman. Things got worse in the eighth when Durbin and J.C. Romero couldn't keep it close. Sure, last Thursday's loss to the Cubs felt worse and looked worse. Durbin did give up a grand slam to Aramis Ramirez in the eighth inning. Cubs fans did rock Wrigley. But last night's game was worse because the Phillies dropped 2 of 3 against the Nationals.

It also dropped them three games behind the Mets in the NL East with 22 games to play.

"We battled back last year," Chase Utley said. "Now we have to battle back again."

"It's still there for us," Charlie Manuel said. "It's getting harder every time we get behind, of course. But it's still there."

It's still there, but the Phillies need to find some of that 2007 magic immediately. As bad as the Mets bullpen is, it's hard to believe that if the Mets get staked to another sizeable lead in the NL East they could blow it again. There's a reason why last season's comeback is considered historic -- it doesn't happen every year.


More on Cole Hamels pitching Sunday against the Mets.


In the Phillies Notebook: Kyle Kendrick's next start is uncertain. Next Monday? Late next week? Next season?