Doubt is creeping into every corner of the team.
"Right now, we've got guys hurt, but I don't know if that makes any difference or not," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We've got some holes, and we have to get better."
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 they'll 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, Manuel's tenure is probably over.
"I'm going to be somewhere," Manuel said. "How about that? We'll see. It's OK. I've 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 Detroit's 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.
"I definitely made a minor-league mistake," Hamels said. "That's the whole game right there."
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.
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