MIAMI - It wasn't a classic Larry Bowa, eyes-bulging, neck-veins-popping rant, and it certainly wasn't a Dallas Green, 7.9-on-the-Richter-scale explosion.
But Charlie Manuel is frustrated with his team's offense, and he let it be known after the Phillies wasted a golden effort from ace Cole Hamels in losing, 3-2, in 11 innings to the Florida Marlins yesterday.
"We get pitching like that, we've got to win," an exasperated Manuel said after Hamels allowed just four hits, two of which were home runs, over eight innings.
Sitting behind a desk in the visiting manager's office at Dolphin Stadium, Manuel flicked a few jabs at his team's offense, then delivered a haymaker.
"Our situational hitting is absolutely terrible," he said. "Absolutely off the chart, really."
A double absolute. That's how bad these last two days in Florida were. The Phils went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine in Saturday's 9-5 loss. Yesterday, they went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
"It's going to be hard for us to win" if situational hitting does not improve, Manuel said. "[On Saturday], we hit all those balls down to third base in one inning - absolutely bad hitting. I'm not trying to hurt anybody's feelings, but if I do, if I'm talking about you, that's good. I mean to be talking about you.
"We hit enough. We talk enough [about situational hitting]. We've got to get it done. A lot of it is me. It's up to me to make us try to get it done.
"Accountability is fine, but if you don't execute, something's wrong."
The Phillies are widely hailed as an excellent offensive team; they entered yesterday's game ranked second in the National League with 490 runs. The Phils have scored 20 runs in a game twice, most recently on June 13 at St. Louis. In the 30 games since then, however, they have scored four or fewer runs 20 times and two or fewer 11 times. They are 12-18 in those 30 games, but have managed to hang on to a share of first place.
"I hear everybody [praise] our lineup, but evidently they don't really evaluate our lineup right," he said. "It's not like I'm throwing anybody under the bus, because I'm not. It's about our team. I'm included in that."
In one breath, Manuel said the team had several elite hitters. In another, he indicated that those hitters were underachieving. He also made a point to say that this year's lineup is different than last year's.
Last season, the Phillies had Aaron Rowand, who hit .309 with 27 homers and 89 RBIs. He has ostensibly been replaced by Jayson Werth (.268, 12 homers, 36 RBIs) and Geoff Jenkins (.238, 8 homers, 26 RBIs).
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who has struggled to match last year's MVP season, was unfazed by Manuel's criticism.
"He's pretty much right, but we'll get out of it," Rollins said. "We don't get concerned until late. Coaches do that now. We go play."