Before Thursday's game, 1980s pop princess Paula Abdul posed for a photo with Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel. Abdul danced with the Phillie Phanatic and her chart-toppers blared over the stadium speakers all day but the result was the same, another Phillies loss.
So straight up now tell me, Charlie ... what exactly is the problem?
"We don't scare nobody. We used to have a swagger. We used to be kind of cocky in a real good way, and teams used to fear us," Manuel said, after Thursday's 8-3 loss to the Dodgers. "Teams don't fear us no more. I'm sorry, I don't see it. I'm answering that question really honestly."
By the top of the ninth inning, after Chad Qualls surrendered four runs, fans started to head for the exits. One loud, audible, "Qualls, you suck" chant rung out -- and even the famed "Chooch" chants started blending in with the jeers.
Following a four-game sweep by L.A., that is now six straight losses for the Fightin' Phils. They are three games below .500 and six games out of first place. It is the team's longest losing streak since an eight-game drought last September.
"We had a rough home stand here," Manuel added. "We need to win some games."
Looking up at the scoreboard in the sixth, the Phillies had out-hit the Dodgers, 8-6, yet they found themselves trailing 4-3 after L.A. tagged Cole Hamels for three runs. The Dodgers might have snuck one more across, too, if not for a base-running mistake by Tony Gwynn Jr. Ironically, the Phillies' current losing streak started the last time Hamels took the mound.
"Well, since I obviously started this losing streak and we're still on the losing streak, it's not fun," Hamels said. "I hate to lose. I got two losses."
Hamels (8-3, 2.93 ERA), who gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings, had been turning in a Cy Young-worthy campaign through his first nine starts. Since then, he's compiled a 5.23 ERA. Hamels had a 20-inning scoreless streak snapped in the fourth. And he seemed visibly frustrated on the hill after surrendering the lead in the sixth.
"It's frustrating because you want to battle and we get the lead, and then we gave it up," Hamels said.