Prior to the Phillies' third straight loss to the Mets, Charlie Manuel was asked about holding a team meeting.
Manuel said that he didn’t know what to say to his players. After the Phillies lost their third consecutive game, after holding a lead in the sixth inning, the colorful Phillies skipper found enough words to have a postgame discussion with his squad.
“What I watched in the game got me upset," Manuel said. “Usually I stay pretty cool. But the way we played, I just thought it was time to say something to my guys. We’re not playing the way we should play. We got to play better is what I’ve told them. We’ve given away seven or eight ball ballgames already, games that we could have won easily.”
Manuel nailed it. The Phillies have given away a bunch of games already. Instead of leading the NL East with a 21-11 record, the Phillies are in the cellar with a 14-18 mark. Manuel’s team has had a difficult time closing out games this season. The bullpen deserves much of the blame but an inconsistent offense, poor defense and questionable base-running decisions all factor into a subpar start.
“We haven’t been playing well,” Cliff Lee said. “There’s no doubt about it. We screwed the game up everyway we could. I feel like it [the meeting] was overdue. Something needs to change. We need someone to shake it up. We need to get back on track to be the team we know we can be. I think there needs to be urgency. We’ve obviously struggled in just about every aspect of the game. There needs to be urgency, pressure, whatever. We have to turn it around, figure it out.”
Jimmy Rollins, who is the longest tenured Phillie and the unofficial leader, believes the meeting was necessary. But he thinks there is plenty of time to right the ship. Rollins went back five years to the beginning of the Phillies current run when the team got off to a rough start.
“It happened before in 2007, which was a very good year for us and put us where we are now,” Rollins said. “We’ve made up more than we have to now [five games behind the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves].”
Hunter Pence stressed that he and his teammates need to relax.
“It’s awful,” Pence said. “I’ve been trying to hard, thinking too much and pressing. Charlie is an unbelievable manager. He’s right. It’s not acceptable to play the way we’re playing. We all got to look ourselves in the mirror and figure something out.”