06/27/09 1:18 AM ET
Frustration abounds on fiery night for Phils
Hamels ejected, offense sputters as club puzzled by Jays
By David Singh / Special to MLB.com
With tempers flaring and the offense sputtering, Philadelphia dropped a 6-1 affair to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. With that loss, the Phillies (37-34) have now dropped 11 of their past 13 games.
The latest loss resulted in a closed-door meeting following the game that lasted about 20 minutes. As well, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel did not speak to reporters.
Shane Victorino was one of the few players who spoke, and he relayed the frustration that the club is feeling.
"No excuses," Victorino said. "Let's put it that way. We're not going to make excuses."
While no excuses were being made, Victorino said there were no answers right now as to why the Phillies have been mired in such a dizzying spell over the past couple weeks.
"We're not playing the way we should," Victorino said. "Whether we're trying too hard or trying to make things happen -- maybe that's the thing we're doing wrong -- I can't put my finger on it."
The Phillies have hit a collective .223 over their past 13 games. Those struggles continued Friday, as Philadelphia was dominated by Toronto (41-34) starter Ricky Romero. The left-hander yielded just two hits over his seven shutout frames, baffling Philadelphia's hitters.
The Phillies did not record a hit until the seventh inning, when Chase Utley and Jayson Werth notched consecutive singles to open the inning. However, Romero (5-3) was able to escape the frame unharmed.
"He pitched well," said Victorino. "You have got to tip your hat to him."
Ace Cole Hamels, on the other hand, was hit hard by the Jays, surrendering four runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. Exhausting 105 pitches in the outing, Hamels was removed from the contest with two outs in the fifth.
As Hamels was walking off the mound, he had some words for home-plate umpire Mark Carlson, who then ejected the pitcher, making him the first Philadelphia player to be tossed this year.
Following the game, Hamels (4-4) declined to speak to reporters.
"I can't gather my thoughts to say anything good right now, so I'll talk tomorrow," Hamels said.
Toronto opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Scott Rolen came home on a hard single up the middle by Alex Rios that gave the Jays a 1-0 lead.
Toronto added to that lead in the fifth, when Aaron Hill's double to right-center field plated two more runs. Rolen then added a sacrifice fly to push the score to 4-0. Two batters later, the Jays were able to successfully chase Hamels from the game. It was his shortest outing since April 28, when he went 4 1/3 innings against Washington.
Amid all the frustration, Utley had positive remarks.
"I believe we have a very good team," Utley said. "Right now, we're definitely not playing good baseball all around. There's no one thing that we're doing bad. We're just not playing together as a team. We have to battle through times like this.
"When you lose, it's frustrating. When you lose over the course of a couple weeks, it's even more frustrating. No one's happy, but definitely no one's given up."
Another reason to be positive, according to Victorino, was that despite their recent stretch, the Phillies are still in first place in the National League East. They hold a half-game lead over the Mets.
"I don't want to laugh about it, but if we look at the end of the night, we might still be in first place, which is unbelievable," Victorino said.
"We can't dwell on it, but if there's one positive thing that can come out of this situation, it's that as badly as we're doing -- and we have no answer for that -- it's where we are [in the standings]."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.