video thumbnail

MIL@PHI: Manuel on the Phillies' loss

PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel has lamented the losses of Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and others in the Phillies' lineup.

The Phillies have not scored more than four runs in a game since April 9 and have just one extra-base hit in their last 28 innings. They entered Tuesday night's 9-0 loss to the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park just 15th in the National League in walks.

They are not getting on base, they are not hitting for power and they are not scoring runs.

But is a high-octane offense too much to ask without Utley and Werth?

"We will," Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "I don't question that. Jayson, that's not even a part of this discussion anymore. Chase is a big part of the offense and defense. He brings energy himself. But we've won games without him. We've done it in the past. It's just another challenge for us again. ... Lately, we've been a little flat. The energy has been a little bit flat. That could be because we haven't been tearing the cover off the ball. We've got to find ways to win those games regardless, but fortunately, it's only 16 games into the season. We'll get this out of the way early."

Manuel hopes so. The Phillies will need to score on nights when Roy Halladay and the rest of the starters struggle.

Halladay struggled Tuesday. He allowed 10 hits and six runs in 6 2/3 innings. It was his worst start since June 25, when he allowed six runs in six innings against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

He didn't have his best, but if Ryan Howard stopped a single from Prince Fielder through the right side of the infield with two outs in the seventh -- Howard dove to his right, but couldn't make the play -- Halladay maybe works out of the inning and allows only three runs in seven innings.

"There was probably two or three pitches I want back," Halladay said. "You try and evaluate, not always based on results. I think there were six ground-ball hits. Some days, those hits are right where guys are playing. Other days, they aren't."

"He's around the plate, so I think you have to be aggressive," Fielder said. "You can't be crazy, but you have to be aggressive to put the ball in play and see what happens."

The balls got through Tuesday.

The few balls the Phillies hit hard were caught by Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez or left fielder Ryan Braun.

The Phils snapped a streak of 21 innings without an extra-base hit in the bottom of the third when Shane Victorino stretched a single into a double with one out. Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf walked Placido Polanco to put runners on first and second with one out.

The Phillies couldn't take advantage.

Rollins ripped a ball to left, but Braun made a nice running catch to prevent one or two runs from scoring. "Oh, man, that was a heck of a play," Rollins said. "He got to second later in the game and said he didn't think he had a chance. Off the bat, I didn't think he had a chance, either. I was hoping it was going to hook, but it never hooked. It just stayed straight."

Howard grounded out to end the inning. The Phillies had runners on first and second with one out in the fourth, but again did not score.

"We've got to bear down and put all we've got into it," Manuel said about the struggling offense. "We've got to find a way."

This was the Phils' worst shutout loss since a 12-0 defeat by the Rockies on Sept. 12, 2007.

That loss has a special part in club history because it dropped the Phillies seven games behind the Mets with 17 games to play. The Phillies went 13-4 the rest of the way to win their first NL East title since 1993.

Maybe Tuesday's loss sparks a similar turnaround.

Or maybe Cliff Lee, who starts Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. ET series finale, makes it happen on his own.

"That's going to help me sleep a little better tonight," Manuel said of Lee. "I'll get two hours instead of nothing." Comments