TOO MUCH love.

That's been the problem around here.

The players want to please the fans too much.

The fans? Well, they've just become too nice.

"I notice sometimes when they're talking to us around the dugout, they're always talking about last year and thanking us for winning and all that," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before last night's 5-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. "Of course, they're enjoying the game and they love us, but . . . well, maybe they should get on us a little bit."

The Phillies have won 16 of 22 games on the road this season. They have won nine of 22 at home. Several players shrugged when asked about that oddity yesterday, blaming it on the ebb and flow of a 162-game schedule.

"I don't think anyone in here is really worried about it," said Ryan Howard. "Because we know it's going to turn around at some point."

Worry is too strong, but Manuel is concerned. When the Phillies followed a tepid 2-4 homestand early this month with a four-game sweep in Washington, the manager hinted that his championship team might be overextended in its off-field interests at home.

Last night, he postulated that his team's eagerness to please had been counterproductive.

"I think we may be trying to do too much at home," Manuel said.

"I think sometimes when you watch us play and the mistakes we make, we try to overdo things," he said. "Trying to do too much. Overreacting to things. I don't know if that's because we're playing at home. But it seems that way."

The Phillies came home from an 8-2 road trip this week, from almost sweeping a red-hot Yankees team in New York and . . . immediately assumed their homefield position.

Their 5-3 loss to the Marlins Monday night was punctuated by just the kind of overdoing Manuel was talking about. With Matt Stairs at the plate and the Phillies two runs down in the ninth inning, Shane Victorino was gunned down trying to steal second.

"I took the air out of the stadium by getting thrown out there," said Victorino, who alternated yesterday between explaining himself and criticizing himself.

Based on Matt Lindstrom's normally slow delivery to the plate, Victorino said he sought to avoid the possibility of a doubleplay with what he thought would be a sure steal. A short lead, bad jump and an unusually quick delivery of the ball to the plate led to an embarrassing and excruciating gaffe.

Trying to do too much?

"I wouldn't say I was trying to make something happen," he said at first, but later came this:

"I started thinking too much," he said. "I was thinking this guy is too slow to the plate, I can steal a base and stay out of the doubleplay . . . But on the other hand, it's like, why did I even think about it? Go ahead and let him have his at-bat. I won't second-guess what I did. But I should have been smarter. In that regard, I made a mistake by not analyzing the big picture better.

"But I wouldn't have done anything different if I was on the road. Even if we were in Florida . . . with the times we had on him, I should have been able to steal the base . . . "

Not surprising, Victorino was 4-for-5 with two doubles last night, igniting a three-run first inning that Phillies starter Joe Blanton caressed through seven strong scoreless innings. Blanton is the latest of the Phillies' starting five who seems to have found his groove, keeping the ball in the park, striking out a career-high 11 Marlins.

All in all, an efficient and yip-less night - until Chad Durbin loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, and Ryan Howard threw a game-ending doubleplay ball 15 feet wide of Jimmy Rollins and into leftfield, scoring the Marlins' first two runs and forcing Manuel to use Brad Lidge.

Lidge walked Emilio Bonifacio on four pitches to reload the bases, then induced an RBI groundout to Howard. With the tying runs in scoring position, Lidge struck out Wes Helms to end it.

By then though, only the hardiest lovebirds were scattered around the park, their cheers and boos muted by a need to maintain a 98.6-degree body temperature. The Phillies are 1-1 so far on this homestand, with one more to play against the reeling Fish and the last three against woeful Washington.

It's a recipe to repair the homefield oddity, to ease the manager's concerns that our newfound niceness is hurting, not helping his ballclub.

"If you notice, our fans are still into everything," said Manuel. "They fill our ballpark up. And they stay. And that's good. I want them to keep coming to the games.

"But I want our fans to start telling them, 'Hey, look: We've got to win this year, too.' " *

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