06/26/09 12:12 AM ET
In loss to Rays, miscues bother Manuel
Bastardo can't hold lead; Feliz makes baserunning gaffe
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Charlie Manuel likes a little extra time to decompress.
The clubhouse doors opened almost immediately after a tough 10-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Phillies have lost 10 of their past 12 games with more than a few mental errors to make things look worse. Manuel seemingly wanted to get his postgame interview with reporters out of the way immediately so he could shower and fly to Toronto for a weekend series against the Blue Jays, where he hopes things will be better.
"If I'm going to go out there and address that, there's a lot of other [things] I should be addressing, too," Manuel said about the string of mental errors. "I don't know where I go from there. It's building up. The dam bursts and get it all out. What can you say?
"You know what? You play like that right there, there's a good chance you're going to lose some more. That's not good play. I don't think anybody in our clubhouse will tell you that they think that's very good play. We've lost some games where we've given some away. We've lost some games where we've played bad baseball. We've made some mental mistakes. Mistakes that you're not supposed to make. Sometimes we don't score. Sometimes we don't hold them. We don't play consistent baseball. We don't have the pitching and the hitting and the defense together. That's how you accumulate losses."
The Phillies took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but then thing started to unravel.
Left-hander Antonio Bastardo left the game with runners on first and second and two outs in the fourth inning with a strained left shoulder. He had allowed three runs in the first inning and three more runs in the second to give the Rays a 6-4 lead.
"The whole game shifted," Manuel said.
Is it unclear how severe Bastardo's injury is, but it clearly affected his velocity.
Bastardo said he has felt some tightness in his shoulder recently, although he described no pain. He expects to be examined Friday.
If Bastardo can't make his next scheduled start Wednesday in Atlanta, the Phillies could pitch without a fifth starter until July 4 against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.
If Bastardo can't pitch and Philadelphia wants to keep five starters through the All-Star break, it has options. It is worth mentioning that right-hander Kyle Kendrick (4-4, 3.97 ERA) pitched Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which means he could pitch for the Phils on normal rest. He allowed five hits and four runs in six innings against Indianapolis. It's also worth noting that right-hander Kyle Drabek (4-0, 2.43 ERA) pitched Thursday for Double-A Reading, giving up six hits and three runs in 7 1/3 innings against New Hampshire.
But Bastardo's injury is just the latest in a long list of problems for the Phillies.
They were 35-23 with a four-game lead over the Mets in the National League East on June 11. They had won 10 of their previous 13.
But then the Phillies went 1-8 on a nine-game homestand against the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles. It was one of the worst homestands in club history with the team struggling with its hitting, pitching and defense. Left fielder Raul Ibanez and left-hander Scott Eyre landed on the disabled list. They lost right-hander Clay Condrey to the DL soon after. That trio joined right-hander Brett Myers and closer Brad Lidge, who Philadelphia activated Thursday.
Manuel then said he would bench Jimmy Rollins, who had hit just .125 in his previous 13 games, at least two games to clear his mind.
Quite simply, nothing is going right.
The Phillies had runners on first and third with one out in the sixth inning when Eric Bruntlett lined out to center field. Pedro Feliz ran to second, but retreated once he realized B.J. Upton caught the ball. Upton threw him out at first base before Matt Stairs scored from third.
Had Feliz not been doubled up on the mental mistake, Stairs would have scored and the Phils would have cut the lead to 6-5.
But things worsened in the sixth. Chad Durbin thought he threw two good pitches to Pat Burrell, which he thought should have been called for a third strike. Home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom thought differently each time and Burrell walked.
Durbin said something to Cederstrom at that point.
"It was the same pitch [Burrell] struck out on the first time," Durbin said. "The same exact one."
Chase Utley ran in from second base to intervene. Manuel thought Durbin's reaction might be a sign of how frustrated the Phillies are right now.
"I'm frustrated for the whole team, yeah," Durbin said. "But I'm also frustrated because we've got to face to lefties after that. If it's an out, it changes how you pitch both guys. A 6-4 game and almost a 6-5 game is very doable. It's much different than 9-4."
The Rays scored three in the sixth to make it 9-4.
The Phillies had just two hits after the first inning, so there would be no comeback.
There would only be a quiet clubhouse and a manager ready to leave town as quickly as possible.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.