Phils hit rock bottom in losing their eighth straight

Phillies reliever Jake Diekman (right) is removed from the game in the sixth inning by manager Charlie Manuel (41). Diekman was the losing pitcher. GREGORY SHAMUS / Getty Images
Phillies reliever Jake Diekman (right) is removed from the game in the sixth inning by manager Charlie Manuel (41). Diekman was the losing pitcher. GREGORY SHAMUS / Getty Images
Posted: July 30, 2013

DETROIT - The embarrassment was worst in the 69th inning of this eight-game losing streak, when the Phillies played a brand of baseball unrecognizable during the Charlie Manuel era.

Darin Ruf committed the inning's third error. Jimmy Rollins crouched in front of second base and drew in the dirt with his right hand as a 12-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers evolved.

"That," Rollins said, "was embarrassing."

There is no more hope for 2013, another season that is sure to end without postseason baseball in South Philadelphia. Manuel's tenure as manager is destined to end when this season concludes. Whatever veteran parts Ruben Amaro Jr. can trade before Wednesday will be jettisoned.

If Rollins had drawn a plea for help in the infield dirt, no one would have blamed him. The Phillies allowed eight unearned runs in one inning. On two hits. It was an astounding feat of ineptitude. Manuel's depleted team has surrendered. The carnage is limitless.

Afterward, in the losers' clubhouse, there was acceptance. Rollins admitted it was appropriate to talk about the future, and said he will not waive his no-trade clause if propositioned. When asked what he could say to his players, Manuel was speechless.

"They see it," he said. "They know."

Michael Young, the team's one commodity, said Amaro has yet to approach him about a potential trade.

"As far as I know," Young said, "I'll be ready to roll 7 o'clock on Tuesday."

The Phillies have matched their longest losing streak in Manuel's nine years as manager. This 1-8 road trip was the Phillies' worst of nine or more games since July 28 to Aug. 6, 1995. They were 1-8 on that trip, too.

Amaro will listen to offers for his players. He is not expected to trade Cliff Lee. He again met with Chase Utley before Sunday's game. A long-term contract extension for the second baseman is likely.

The Phillies do not have many trade chips beyond that. Jonathan Papelbon is owed $30 million through 2015, and rival scouts are not recommending him for acquisition because of a dip in velocity and effectiveness. Catcher Carlos Ruiz has four extra-base hits in 46 games. Rollins is staying.

"There are still a couple of things I'd like to be No. 1 in for this organization," Rollins said, "so until those things are done, I'm not going anywhere."

The immediate fate of this franchise is irrelevance. Three players who began 2013 at triple-A Lehigh Valley committed sixth-inning errors. Lefthanded pitcher Jake Diekman misplayed a bunt. Outfielder Steve Susdorf dropped a fly ball. Ruf, the first baseman, errantly fired a ball at Ruiz.

Forty-seven pitches by three Phillies relievers were needed to record three outs. Luis Garcia walked in two runs. Then Jhonny Peralta destroyed a fastball for a grand slam. Manuel signaled for a new pitcher before Peralta touched home plate.

"You can't sugarcoat it," Young said. "Whatever could possibly go wrong went wrong. There is no other way to put it than that."

"It's hard, man. It's tough," Ruiz said. "We're not playing good baseball right now. It's embarrassing to see that."

"If there's a bottom, this has to be it," Rollins said. "I can't imagine things getting worse than they have this past week, culminating the way they did today."

The Phillies were outscored, 52-14, in their last eight games. They once led Sunday, 3-0, which is remarkable in retrospect. Miguel Cabrera, perhaps the best hitter on the planet, was ejected during his first at-bat. Detroit still romped.

And there was Rollins, in the dirt, wondering what else could happen. "I've seen a lot," Rollins said, "but I haven't seen that."

Unfortunately, the Phillies have 57 more games to surpass that horror.

Contact Matt Gelb


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