In his office inside the visitor's clubhouse at Petco Park, Charlie Manuel talked about a Phillies offense that had just six hits last night in an 8-3 loss to the Padres -- and just one hit after Jayson Werth's leadoff single in the fifth inning.
“We went how long without a hit?” Manuel said. “We struck out 13 times. We were taking fastballs and they were throwing us a lot of fastballs. If we’re not a fastball hitting team, well …”
The Phillies are hitting .198 (64 for 324) in their last 10 games, and .190 (37 for 195) in the first six games of this seven-game road trip through Los Angeles and San Diego. They have lost seven of their last 10 games to fall two games behind the New York Mets in the National League East. The Phillies still they think they will awaken from their nine-week slumber in time. But they better hurry up. There are just 39 games left in the season, meaning they have less than a quarter of their schedule remaining.
Jim Salisbury takes a look at the National League East race in The Inquirer's Sunday baseball column. He breaks down the remaining schedules of the Mets, Phillies and Marlins. Here is what he had to say:
Mets: The Mets see all their NL East rivals down the stretch and have winning records against all but the Braves. The good news for the Mets is that six of their remaining nine games against the Braves are in New York and the Braves are dreadful on the road. The Mets could receive a break when they host the Brewers for a three-game series beginning Labor Day. If the Brewers' rotation stays on its current path, the Mets would not face CC Sabathia in the series. Sabathia is 7-0 with a 1.55 ERA in eight starts with the Brewers. The final week of the Mets' schedule could be a wild one as the team says good-bye to Shea Stadium. The Cubs, who could be looking to lock up the NL Central, visit for four, followed by the Marlins for three.
Phillies: There are some real tough spots, including threefour-game series against the Dodgers at home, the Cubs in Chicago and the Brewers at home. The Dodgers just took four from the Phils out West and the prospect of having to pitch to Manny Ramirez (33 RBIs in 22 career games against the Phils) in four games at Citizens Bank Park is not comforting. The Phils, just 9-16 against the Mets and Marlins, have 11 games left against those clubs. They also have 15 remaining games against the Braves and Nationals. They are 16-5 against those clubs.
Marlins: The Marlins this weekend are finishing up a rugged stretch that included series against the Phillies, Mets, Cardinals and Cubs. On Tuesday, they hit the road for what could be a defining nine-game trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta. The Marlins are already 5-1 against Arizona and they will miss Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb next weekend. Florida (10-2 against Washington) has six more games against the Nationals. If they stay alive, the Marlins will face a test the final week of the season when they play at Cincinnati (one game), at Washington (three) and at the Mets (three).
Also check out Salisbury's Extra Bases.
If you watched Rich Dubee's visit to the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning last night, you know he wasn't happy. Kyle Kendrick had a runner on second with two outs when he allowed a hit to pitcher Chad Reineke. He then allowed a single to Jody Gerut.
“He didn’t throw in the strike zone,” a clearly frustrated Dubee said. “He pitched himself right into some 2-0, 3-1 counts. That’s not good. He’s a contact guy. He doesn’t throw in the strike zone, he’s not going to be out there long. That’s what’s happening.”
Kendrick is 0-2 with a 16.71 ERA (13 earned runs in seven innings) in his last two starts, and 2-4 with a 6.90 ERA (23 earned runs in 30 innings) in his last six starts. It was the sixth time in 25 starts this season Kendrick has failed to pitch at least five innings, and the fifth time he has allowed six or more runs.
Hitting coach Milt Thompson is baffled just like you about the team's poor hitting.
“I have never seen a team that has the capability that this team has just go south for a long period of time,” he said. “Usually you have one guy that’s kind of slow, but it’s the whole team. It’s unexplainable. I’m serious. I don’t have any answers. It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not sleeping very well. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do to try to get the guys going. It’s amazing.”