Zack Wheeler said the Phillies were frustrated after Thursday’s 6-2 loss that completed a sweep at the hands of baseball’s worst team. You probably were, too. The Phillies have lost seven of their last nine, making that eight-game winning streak feel like ancient history. Their offense looks lifeless, and they trail the Braves by four games in the National League East. A week ago, the Phillies led the division by a half-game. How quickly things change.

The Braves are playing the 82-loss Orioles this weekend while the Phillies stay out west for a series in San Diego that starts against Blake Snell. If the Phillies don’t respond fast, that deficit could balloon. This weekend could sink or save the season.

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— Matt Breen (extrainnings@inquirer.com)

The rundown

The Phillies’ offensive slump is a reminder of how much they miss Rhys Hoskins, Scott Lauber writes.

The Phillies’ bats disappeared again in a humiliating sweep and other observations by Lauber from a 6-2 loss to Diamondbacks.

Zach Eflin is closing in on his return to the Phillies’ starting rotation.

Important dates

Tonight: Matt Moore faces Snell in San Diego, 10:10 p.m.

Tomorrow: Aaron Nola starts against Joe Musgrove, 8:40 p.m.

Sunday: Kyle Gibson pitches the series finale vs. the Padres, 3:40 p.m.

Monday: The Phillies are off.

Tuesday: Tampa Bay comes to Philly for a two-game series, 7:05 p.m.

Stat of the day

How bad has the Phillies offense been lately? It’s hard to find a worse-performing unit in all of baseball.

Since their eight-game winning streak ended Aug. 10, the Phils have a .552 OPS (second worst in baseball), have a .181 batting average (worst in baseball), have hit the fewest homers in the majors with five, and have scored the fewest runs, 21.

It’s been ugly and it’s why the season seems to be spiraling. Snell hasn’t been his Cy Young self this season but he does have a 1.59 ERA in his last three starts for the Padres, with 25 strikeouts in 17 innings. It doesn’t seem like the ideal matchup Friday for an offense trying to get right.

From the mailbag

Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.

Question: I do not believe the Phillies are this bad. It appears to me that, as a team, they are pressing. What can/should Joe G. do to get them to relax and just play baseball. — Rick C. via Twitter

Answer: Thanks, Rick. Great question. J.T. Realmuto said after Thursday’s game that the team was pressing, so your observations are astute.

I don’t know what Joe Girardi can do, as the onus falls more on the players than the manager in a situation such as this. I wonder how much the easy schedule is a detriment to these Phillies, as it sure seemed like they overlooked the Diamondbacks. Girardi’s focus should be on creating a lineup that gets runners on base for Bryce Harper, but that’s been difficult. But maybe Girardi can see if Charlie Manuel has any rubber ducks hanging around.