From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Re: Knucklehead

After the Phillies endured another crushing loss, this time by 8-0 to those hated New York Mets, manager Charlie Manuel said the team is getting "outplayed" and "outhustled." True enough.

How big of a concern is the Phils' play of late? Is this something that's just going to happen over the course of a 162-game season, or is this a symptom of a bigger problem?

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Re: Knucklehead

If there's one thing I've learned about baseball - and that's probably an accurate assessment of my intake - it's that awful slumps and red-hot streaks typically mean little. Good teams will finish with good records, bad with bad. That said, there's nothing that can make a slump look worse than aggressive hitters flailing mindlessly at a knuckleball.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Re: Knucklehead

I agree with Fitz. This team will hit. It's streaky. This happens all the time. They go through these mini slumps and then - boom - they start bashing the ball.

I'm more worried about Brad Lidge and whom the team will use to close out games as the season moves on.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Re: Knucklehead

The knuckleball certainly isn't this team's friend, but it had been more than two decades since the Phils had faced knuckleballers back-to-back.

And yes, Lidge is a concern. Last year he was never quite right, and it was a huge problem. How do you guys see that playing out?

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Re: Knucklehead

How do you expect me to insult you, Gonz, if you're going to agree with me? Next thing you know you'll be telling me all these bozos buying Flyers jerseys are just as ridiculous as the nincompoops who feel like they've got to dress up like players to attend a Phillies game.

From: Gonzalez, John

To: Fox, Ashley; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Re: Knucklehead

I like the nincompoops, Fitzy. They're my kind of people. I've long been a practitioner of nincompoopery. (That's a word. Look it up in the Page 2 dictionary.)

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Gonzalez, John; Fitzpatrick, Frank

Re: Knucklehead

I did look it up. And next to the word was your floating head.

From: Fitzpatrick, Frank

To: Fox, Ashley; Gonzalez, John

Re: Knucklehead

Gonzo, the Nabob of Nincompoopery. I like it.