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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — After Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves, Jimmy Rollins glanced at the media around his locker and had only one message to convey:
“Don’t waste your time, guys.”
The Phillies shortstop put on his dark sunglasses and walked out of the clubhouse. His only comment perhaps a fitting first-half epitaph for the worst team in the NL East.
Don’t waste your time.
Charlie Manuel says he still believes the Phillies can make the playoffs. But he’s the manager and he certainly won’t publicly throw in the towel on an out-of-nowhere disaster of a season.
The five-time NL East champion Phillies are staggering heading into the All-Star break. They have lost 10 of 11 games and are 13 games under .500 (37-50) and 14 games behind first-place Washington. The Phillies lost 60 games all of last season.
Feeling down over a horrendous slump, Shane Victorino talked with Manuel before the game and was scratched from the seventh spot in the starting lineup about an hour before first pitch. Manuel said Victorino did not ask out of the lineup.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen him acting like that,” Manuel said. “He’s going through a tough time.”
The Phillies may need more than four days to recover from a dreadful first half.
“Have I tried everything? I think I have, yes,” Manuel said. “But at the same time, I’m still willing to try something else. I’ll keep trying.”
The recent returns of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard failed to make a difference for the last-place team. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay will throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Clearwater and, if all goes well, could make a rehab start there on Thursday. He needs to be healthy and effective in a hurry if the Phillies have any chance at making a run toward a sixth straight playoff appearance in the second half.
“I believe we can (make the playoffs) because I’ll always believe,” Manuel said.
And he believes he’s the right manager to lead the team the rest of the way. Manuel, who led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship, defended his resume when asked about his job security the rest of the season.
“How concerned am I? I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself,” he said. “I am a fighter. Not only that, I think I’m a winner.”
Notes: The Phillies are under .500 at the All-Star break for the fourth time in the last 15 seasons and first time since 2006. … The Braves swept the Phillies for the first time since April 2-5 (3-0) 2007. … The Phillies are 17-27 at home. … McCann is one shy of matching his personal best of homers in five straight games (July 15-19, 2006).
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