As the losses mount for the Phillies, every move becomes more scrutinized. They certainly created more questions Monday in another rough outing at Citizens Bank Park against the New York Mets.
With two sub-.200 hitters accounting for four seventh-inning runs, the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-3.
The Phillies won just one of the four games in the series and are 5-11 this season against the Mets. They have lost 13 of their last 16 to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park - not what you'd call tasty home cooking.
The game included a botched baserunning decision. In addition, Darin Ruf, who crushed a two-run homer in the fourth against lefthander Jonathon Niese, was lifted in the ninth inning for pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore, who struck out.
First the baserunning gaffe.
The Phillies trailed, 5-2, when Domonic Brown hit a two-out pinch double in the seventh. The next batter, Ben Revere, knocked a single to shallow center field.
Third-base coach Pete Mackanin never hesitated, waving Brown home even though centerfielder Juan Lagares has a strong arm.
That arm gunned down Brown at the plate.
"I was going to hold him up, but with two outs, I decided to take a chance," Mackanin said. "Their guy has a good arm."
The Mets had tied the score, 2-2, on Matt den Dekker's RBI double with no one out in the seventh. That improved his batting average to .189. Then starting pitcher David Buchanan was replaced by Justin De Fratus.
Wilmer Flores greeted De Fratus with a single to right, putting runners on the corners. Catcher Anthony Recker, now batting .187, drilled a three-run homer to left field.
"If I go out there and do my job, we would still be playing right now and have a chance to win a ball game," De Fratus said.
With the Phillies down by three runs, the lefthanded-hitting Sizemore struck out against righthander Jeurys Familia to open the ninth. Righthanders entered the game hitting .129 against Familia.
"Righthanded hitters are hitting way down against Familia - he is extremely tough," manager Ryne Sandberg said in explaining his move.
Still, it might have been a good confidence builder for the righthanded-hitting Ruf. He entered the game with a career .258 average against righthanders and a .216 average against lefties.
"They had a righty on the mound and Grady's swinging it well," Ruf said, refusing to criticize the move. "Get the matchups."
Ruf had given the Phillies a 2-1 lead with his two-run homer to center field in the fourth inning. Those were the only runs allowed by Niese in seven innings.
With the Phillies down to their last out and facing a 5-2 deficit, Cody Asche drew a two-out walk in the ninth. He advanced to second on defensive indifference and scored on a ground-rule double by pinch-hitter Chase Utley.
Utley's shot went over the right-field wall and initially was called a home run. The play was overturned after a review because a fan in the stands had caught the ball over the railing with a Phillies cap.
The game ended when Revere flied out to center.
Ruf is hitting .152 but has had just 33 at-bats. But he won't complain publicly about his limited chances.
"Whenever I see my name in the lineup, I just try to take advantage of the opportunity," Ruf said.
How many of those opportunities there will be remains to be seen. That's one of many unanswered questions about the Phillies as this disappointing season winds down.