Frustration evident in Manuel after Phils loss to LA

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Posted: 9:55 p.m.Updated: June 8, 12:13 a.m.

By Jim Salisbury
CSNPhilly.com

BOX SCORE

Charlie Manuel kept repeating it over and over.

In the first three innings, we had five walks and four hits He said it early in his postgame news conference.He said it in the middle of his postgame news conference.He said it toward the end of his postgame news conference.Of course, the whole sentence should have gone like this:In the first three innings, we had five walks and four hitsand scored just one freaking run against a rookie pitcher making his first big-league start!

Thats probably not Manuels style, but he did manage to leave no doubt that he was frustratedvery frustratedwith his teams offense after a sloppy 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

The Phils were held to three or fewer runs for the 34th time in 61 games.

They had just one extra-base hit, giving them a grand total of seven in the last six games.

They went homerless for the sixth straight game.

That was a very bad ballgame for us, of course, Manuel said. Everything about it was bad. We couldnt get a big hit. We didnt deserve to win the game.

Weve got to hit better. The bottom line is weve got to hit better.

Manuel often spoke of his team being complacent last season. Though hes cooled that talk this seasonprobably because the Phils entered Tuesday nights game with the best record in the majorshe hinted at it after this loss.

In this game, you cant take anything for granted, he said. Just because you did it yesterday or last year doesnt mean youre going to do it today. Weve got to hit better. Weve got to run the bases better. Weve got to play the game better. What you did yesterday doesnt matter.

Manuel was asked if he was sending a message to anyone in particular.

Im saying it to anyone who wants to listen to it, he said. This is an every-day game. Our performance lately, especially against the pitching were seeingI think we should be hitting it, really. That guy tonight had a good arm, but I feel we should have scored some more runs on him. I try to stay positive all the time. Thats kind of where Im at. But weve got to play better than that. Thats the bottom line.

That was the extent of Manuels composed rant. He could have gone in several directions, such as the shoddy defense or even the confounding pitching of Roy Oswalt, but he chose the offense. The Phils have lost six of their last nine games. Theyve been beaten over that span by pitchers names Jonathon Niese, Jason Marquis, John Lannan, Charlie Morton and Rubby De La Rosa. Hardly a murderers row of pitching.

De La Rosa, 22, made his first big-league start Tuesday night and though he was wild and allowed plenty of baserunners over five innings, he held the Phils, who were just 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position, to one run.

Oswalt continued to lack the dominance he had last yearand Manuel mentioned thatas he allowed eight hits and four runs over six innings. He struck out just one. Oswalt hurt himself with a costly errora miscommunication over a pickoff playwhich helped lead to three Los Angeles runs in the third inning. Second baseman Chase Utley also made an error in the inning.

Utley played his fifth straight game and had the Phils only extra-base hit, an RBI triple. He said his right knee hasnt presented any problems. He is expected to get a day off on Wednesday.

Im not thinking about it, thats the most important thing, Utley said of his knee. Im satisfied with how its going.

As for the struggling offense, Utley said: The goal is to get on base. We just didnt capitalize on the opportunities we had. Well turn the page and come back tomorrow and try to do that.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com

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