View Count: 130 |  Publish Date: July 27, 2013
Tigers pin sixth straight loss on Phillies
Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013, 3:01 AM
DETROIT - Jimmy Rollins stepped on home plate with his right foot. He looked at the dirt, removed his helmet, and dodged the celebrating Tigers at Comerica Park. The longest losing streak for these Phillies extended to six games Friday with yet another languid defeat, 2-1, to Detroit, and Rollins was stranded 90 feet from home.
The debate between buying and selling is no longer difficult. Ruben Amaro Jr.s answers appeared in the form of a bad baseball team. The Phillies scored 13 against New York in the first game after the all-star break. They have scored 10 in the six games since. Their one run Friday against the talented Doug Fister was unearned.
Doubt is creeping into every corner of the team.
Right now, weve got guys hurt, but I dont know if that makes any difference or not, manager Charlie Manuel said. Weve got some holes, and we have to get better. More coveragePoll: What should the Phillies do about Chase Utley?Vote: Is Domonic Brown the best young athlete in Philly sports?Follow the Phillies: Download our FREE Pro Baseball app!Forum: Will the Phillies make the playoffs?Latest Phillies videos Special section: Top 25 Phillies prospects What should the Phillies do about Chase Utley? Sign him to an extension and keep him.Trade him for whatever they can get and look to the future. View results
The Phillies played in this city for the first time since 2002, the last year they finished under .500. They avoided that distinction a season ago with a late surge. It could be unavoidable in 2013. The shadow of the deadline may have overcome this team.
Guys think a lot about that, Manuel said. They want to know where theyll be. That bothers them. I understand that to a certain degree. They definitely think about that. The good way to do it is get some hits and win some games.
Manuel spoke like a man content with his future. The 69-year-old manager is without a contract for next season. Should the Phillies miss the postseason, a reality that increases by the day, Manuels tenure is probably over.
The team will offer him a job in its front office until Manuel decides to leave baseball, which may never happen. He said is a positive person, but also realistic. He was accepting of that reality Friday.
Im going to be somewhere, Manuel said. How about that? Well see. Its OK. Ive got good options.
His current options when constructing a lineup are bleak. He shifted Darin Ruf to left field for the first time in 2013 and inserted Kevin Frandsen at first base. Chase Utley batted cleanup for the fourth time in the last two seasons. The offense is without Domonic Brown, Ryan Howard and Ben Revere. It lacks direction.
But Detroits lineup did not contain stars Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter or Omar Infante. All three are explosive against lefthanded pitching. They had an excuse if Cole Hamels dazzled.
Hamels night unraveled in the fifth inning. He issued a one-out walk to Hernan Perez, the first of his young major-league career. Ramon Santiago, a .161 hitter and even worse against lefties, stroked a double down the left-field line. Alex Avila fell behind, 0-2, to Hamels. The .185 hitter was 2 for 42 with zero extra-base hits against lefthanders in 2013. He crushed a high change-up into the gap for a run-scoring double.
The Tigers, a likely postseason team, found a way to win. The Phillies sank deeper into the abyss, and there is no light for 64 days until this season concludes Sept. 29 in Atlanta.
Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.
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