The Phillies’ deficit in the National League East grew to 4½ games with just 21 to play in a humiliating, 11-2, loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Manager Joe Girardi quietly seethed after the loss, his team’s fourth straight.
“I’m just unhappy with the way we’re playing,” he said. “I don’t really want to get into it publicly. I’m just not happy with the way we’re playing.”
Moments later, Bryce Harper was asked about the manager’s anger.
“Definitely warranted,” Harper said. “We just got beat by the Colorado Rockies twice. We got blown out, actually, today. It’s definitely warranted, the way he’s feeling. The irritation is there. The embarrassment is there, as well.
“It’s not good. It’s not good, the way we’re approaching the game. It’s not good the way our at-bats are going, our pitching, everything. It’s just not good right now.
“As a whole, we need to be better. Individually, I need to be better. We don’t have time to sit around and wait and see what’s going to happen. We have to win games. We have to beat teams when they come into our ballpark. We can’t get embarrassed like we did tonight this late in the season.
“We faced two good pitchers (Thursday and Friday night). But it’s our ballpark and we definitely should be embarrassed about the way that we played in front of our fans tonight.”
While sounding the alarm for the team to play better, Harper remained confident that the Phils still had a chance to catch the first-place Braves.
“We just have to be within striking distance when we get to Atlanta (for a three-game series Sept. 28),” he said. “The Braves are a great team. We’ve just got to take care of our business.
“We need to be better. That’s the simple truth. Pitching, hitting, playing every day needs to be better. Being a team, being a whole, not worrying about individual numbers or if you’re a free agent or going to arbitration. You can’t worry about any of that stuff. Worry about the team as a whole and what we can do to make the Phillies better and the team as a whole.”
While Harper used the word “embarrassment” to describe Friday night’s loss, the embarrassment within the embarrassment is that the Phillies don’t have enough starting pitching to make it through the final month of the season in a playoff chase. Zach Eflin is out for the season and with no starting pitching depth — at least none that anyone trusts — the Phils are forced to use a cast of relievers every fifth game.
They got away with it Sunday in Miami, but not Friday night at home against a team that entered 19-50 on the road.
Seven Phillies relievers were tagged for 10 hits and three home runs. One of the home runs was a grand slam that put the Rockies up, 11-0, in the top of the ninth.
The Phillies plan to use the bullpen to get through four of the remaining 21 starts.
Was Friday night ugly enough to cause Girardi to rethink the plan?
“I’m worried about tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll worry about tomorrow then we’ll rethink it when we have to rethink it.”
The Phillies scored two garbage-time runs in the bottom of the ninth, one on a homer by Didi Gregorius. When Gregorius got back to the dugout, Harper crowned him with the…