Five weeks into the new season, the Phillies are just a game over .500. They have been inconsistent in almost every phase of the game. Even though 4 1/2 months remain in the season, the hand-wringing has begun.

"It ain't last year anymore," folks are saying with a shrug.

Actually, this season has a vaguely similar feel to last. The 2008 Phillies had one great season-long consistency - the bullpen. Other than that, there were periods when the starting pitching struggled and when the offense sputtered.

Everything came together for the Phils down the stretch and in the postseason. A 13-3 run to end the season and an 11-3 showing in the postseason equaled a parade down Broad Street.

So, it's way too early to draw any conclusions on how good or bad this team is going to be. Put together a few weeks when the starting pitching and the offense are good on the same night, and this club will be fun to watch.

Right now, however, the two can't seem to run into each other.

Yesterday was a case in point.

Brett Myers bobbed and weaved his way through six innings, allowing just one run against the Atlanta Braves. Reliever Jack Taschner couldn't protect a one-run lead in the seventh and the Phils went on to lose, 4-2.

Taschner allowed a two-run, ground-ball single to Casey Kotchman with two outs in that inning. It was not a hard-hit ball. If it had been a few feet to the left or right, Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley might have had a play on it. But Taschner played with fire - two singles and a walk before Kotchman came up - and paid the price.

It was one of those games in which one hit was going to make a big difference. That's what happens when runs are scarce.

The Phillies had trouble with Japanese righthander Kenshin Kawakami, who allowed just two runs over six innings. Matt Stairs doubled home a run against Kawakami in the sixth, then the Phils' offense went away quietly, though the Braves' bullpen had something to do with that.

The Phils' last chance came against Rafael Soriano in the ninth, but the Braves righthander retired Rollins and Shane Victorino with a man on base to end the game.

It was a fitting ending. Rollins went 1 for 14 in the series; Victorino 0 for 13. The Phillies don't win when their two men at the top of the order are so quiet.

And speaking of quiet, look at Rollins. The Phils' struggling fire-starter went 0 for 5 as his batting average tumbled to .195 and his on-base percentage shrank to .231.

It's actually worse than that. Rollins has played in 28 games, 26 as the leadoff man. His on-base percentage as a leadoff man is .218, the worst in baseball. This team's offensive inconsistency starts right there.

After the game, manager Charlie Manuel was peppered with questions about how long he will stick with Rollins in the leadoff spot. The Phils don't have much flexibility in their lineup and Manuel believes he needs Rollins in the leadoff spot over the long term to balance things out. But in the short term, Manuel might have to move Rollins down, just to take some of the pressure off.

"He looks like he's pressing," Manuel said.

We tried to confirm that with Rollins, but he blew off a pack of reporters after the game. Manuel didn't enjoy talking about the loss, but he did it. Brad Lidge didn't enjoy talking about the hanging slider that Kotchman drilled against him for an RBI double in the ninth, but he did it. Not Jimmy.

Rollins is not your typical leadoff man. He doesn't like to walk. (He has just five in 28 games.) His strengths as a leadoff man are his bat and his legs. In 2007, he had 38 doubles, 20 triples and 30 homers en route to winning the National League MVP award. In 28 games this season, he has just six doubles, no triples and a homer.

Rollins still has game. He showed it in March when he hit .417 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .750 slugging percentage in the World Baseball Classic. He showed it when it mattered most last season - when he hit .313 with 15 runs and a .411 on-base percentage in 24 games over the final month.

It's time for Rollins to show it again. He can lead this offense to the consistency it needs.

That will leave just the pitching to worry about. There are many elements to this game and winning teams put them together at the same time.

These Phillies aren't doing that. That's why they're just a game over .500 five weeks into the season. But remember: It's only five weeks. It takes longer than that for a World Series team to come together. The 2008 Phillies taught us that.