Trying to Find Themselves

Charlie Manuel isn't exactly sure what to think.

His team is in first place, but his normally reliable offense has been in a three-week slump. His team has pitched well enough to win, but its biggest issues are Brett Myers and the reliability of Tom Gordon's right shoulder.

"I think we're looking to see exactly who we are because we've played real good and then kind of hit a snag and headed down," Manuel said.

Nothing has been more down than the offense. But Manuel raised this interesting point: maybe some of this team's key offensive contributors had career years the past couple years. Maybe they're just returning to Earth this year. Or maybe they're (gulp) having down years. Maybe this is what the offense is going to look like the rest of the season. Good some days. Dead the next. There are 79 games to play, so guys like Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have time to catch fire and put this team on their backs again. But the sooner the better for Manuel and everybody else in that clubhouse, you know?

"You usually have one guy that's hitting," Rollins said. "We've had nobody hitting, and that was crazy. Somebody would have two good games, and that was it for the rest of the week. We had one person supporting the whole team. Hopefully, I got it all out of my system. Hopefully, Ryan is done. Get Jenks [Geoff Jenkins] to kick it in, too."

But as the decision for Myers' future in the rotation is expected today, there's no question this team could use more pitching. The preference, like Rollins said, is another stud starter to compliment Cole Hamels. While the Phillies simply have to hope the track records for the Phillies' offense finally come through, pitching is the thing that could push them over the top.