Losers of four in a row and shut out three times in their last four games, the Phillies held a team meeting after last night's 5-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.
Manager Charlie Manuel closed the clubhouse for about five minutes after the game for what he called "a little reminder" of how he wants the defending National League champions to play.
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"I felt like I wanted to say something and I felt like it was time," Manuel said. "I talked to the team and that's between us."
It didn't stay between them long. Manuel, who said he wasn't angry with his players, later pretty much spilled the beans, as did his players, including centerfielder Shane Victorino.
"It's not about losing or winning," Victorino said. "It's about losing the right way, conducting ourselves the right way. No reaming, no yelling at anybody, just understanding that he wants us to go out there and if we're going to lose, lose the right way. Keep our heads up and keep plugging along. You know Charlie. He's not going to get too deep. Just going to discuss the matter and go from there."
Manuel has a charming folksiness when he talks, but he's honest - and he has led the Phillies to the World Series the last two seasons, including their championship year of 2008.
Losing to the Mets on consecutive nights by a combined 13-0 score isn't what chafed him. He understands teams are going to lose games during the season. He just doesn't like the way the Phillies look.
In fact, he wants them to look more like the Mets.
"A lot of times when you're not scoring runs, you look dead," he said. "You look like you don't have a lot of energy. I saw where Jerry Manuel made a statement on the TV about his team, about when they hit the ball and they're stealing bases and they're running and they're winning, there's a lot of energy. And when you don't score runs and you don't hit, a lot of times it looks dead. But at the same time, I'd like for us to pick it up a little bit. I'd like for us to be more intense, get a little fire about us."
The Phillies have one more shot at the Mets Thursday night with Cole Hamels facing Mike Pelfrey. The National League East is bunching up below the Phillies, but Manuel isn't really that worried long term.
"We've got 117 games to play," he said. "One hundred and seventeen games - that's a lot of baseball."