PHOENIX -- When your starting pitcher doesn't make it out of the third inning and your offense generates just five singles and one run, well, it's not going to be a good day, and it wasn't for the Phillies on Monday. They suffered a 6-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks to fall to 24-51, the worst mark in the majors (see Instant Replay).
The Phils are on pace for 110 losses, one shy of the club record set in 1941.
No one expected this team to contend, but no one expected things to be this bad, either.
"In spring training, if you told me we were going to have this record, I wouldn’t believe it," shortstop Freddy Galvis, the team's elder statesman, said after the last loss. "I believed we had a good team. But we just can’t put anything together. We play well for five or six games and then we go to another six- or seven-game losing streak.
"It’s hard. It’s hard to see. It’s hard to believe it. [Bleep] it. We have to [bleeping] play harder every single day. We need to try to do better."
The Phillies were out of this one early as rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta had trouble throwing strikes and was racked for six runs in 2 2/3 innings. He allowed 12 base runners on seven hits and five walks.
It's tough to start climbing out of a hole on a day when your starting pitcher doesn’t give you much of a chance, but Galvis would like to see a little more fight, nonetheless.
"The effort has to be more than we have right now if we want to win," he said. "I think we have to do a little bit more — if we want to win."
Sometimes it almost seems as if losing is becoming habit to this team.
"We’re losing, we’re losing, we’re losing and I don’t see any change so far," Galvis said. "If you get used to it, we’re [bleeped]. We have to have a different mentality every time we come here. We have to try to win. We have to try to fight for nine innings and 27 outs."
Entering the season, some hopeful hearts thought the Phillies could make a run at .500, a 10-game improvement on last season's 71-win season. But 75 games into this season, the Phils are on pace for just 52 wins.
Phillies management was always reluctant to put a number on how many wins it thought this team could deliver. That's standard operating procedure because rebuilds are unpredictable. But management has never been shy in pointing out that the Phillies are a club building for a better day and expectations were never high for this club. Could it be that the players are simply playing down to expectations?
"If you get that into your mind you’re [bleeped],” Galvis said. "We’re players. We have to play hard, 24-7. And that’s it. Yeah, they say we’re a rebuilding team, but we still have good players here.
"Sometimes you have to relax a little, just breathe and let it go. When we’re in a winning streak everybody just relaxes and plays baseball. But right now it’s not that way. We want to do it so badly and in the end we don’t do it because we try too hard. Let our abilities speak for us and go from there."
Manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that the "losing is hard to deal with. It’s not easy." But he said he had no qualms with the team's effort. The Phillies won the first game of the series against Arizona then lost the next three.
"We scored six runs the first game and four the next three," Mackanin said. "You know the old saying that pitching and defense wins games, well, if you can’t hit you can’t win a lot of games and we haven’t been hitting."
The Phillies had just five hits in this game, all singles, on a day when Zack Greinke was off his game and lasted just five innings and threw 102 pitches. They had some chances to get in the game, but left two men on base in the first and sixth innings and the bases loaded in the fifth. They were just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Pivetta struggled with his control in his first six starts (16 walks), improved it in his next two (just three) and struggled with it again on Monday in his ninth big-league start.
Part of the learning experience?
“Yeah, but that’s not an excuse I want to use," he said. "I’ve got to make an adjustment during a game and do better.
"I beat myself today and let my team down."