After a comatose 9-3 loss Thursday night, the Phillies vacated Citizens Bank Park with their luggage. They will play just three times here in the next 21 days; the ballpark will serve as another venue for parties during the Democratic National Convention. The home team cannot hit in South Philadelphia, so it might as well allow the politicos to commandeer the stadium.
The Phillies are not a good offensive team, but their hitting woes in 51 home games are mystifying. Most at-bats are swift and end with a whimper. Fans cheer routine fly balls off the bat because those are the only loud noises produced by the home team.
It was a pathetic effort by the lineup. In the field, the Phillies were even worse: Cody Asche and Odubel Herrera committed two of the uglier outfield gaffes on line drives. Jerad Eickhoff lost command in the fourth inning, when Miami scored four times. The Marlins outhit them, 16-3.
This was the kind of night that renders a rebuilding process intolerable. This season, the Phillies have averaged 2.92 runs per game at home.
"I don't get it," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "All these teams that come in say they love to hit here. We just don't hit here. I don't know if it's an anomaly this year or what. That last homestand, we hit the ball well here. I don't know if they're just pressing at home. I don't really have an answer."
The Phillies' current .218 home batting average and .273 on-base percentage would both be the worst in recorded franchise history. They have not hit well at home for quite some time; since the start of the 2014 season, their .296 on-base percentage at home is the worst in baseball and .370 slugging percentage ranks 29th.
"I don't know, man," said Freddy Galvis, who homered in the eighth. "It's crazy. We were talking talking about it. I don't know if we try to do too much here at home, but every time we go on the road, we click.
"If we're trying to do too much, it's not going to happen. We have to just let it go and do what we have to do, and that's it."
On Thursday, the Phillies had one hit in the game's first seven innings, a two-run homer by Ryan Howard in the fourth. He batted in the fifth inning only because Martin Prado booted a routine grounder to third that extended the inning. Howard has 34 hits this season, and 14 of them are home runs.
Tom Koehler, a middling righthander in Miami's rotation, silenced them. He entered the game having thrown 60.1 percent of his pitches for strikes, the fifth-worst rate among major-league starters. The Phillies never made him work.
He threw 28 pitches in the first three innings. Koehler, who had walked 4.7 batters per nine innings, pitched eight innings for the first time this season and fifth time in his career.
For Eickhoff, a six-batter span in the fourth inning resembled a nightmare: home run, double, wild pitch, hit batter, run-scoring groundout, double. That was enough to bury the Phillies.
Mackanin was upset that Eickhoff did not use his curveball more as things spiraled. Eickhoff agreed.
"It was just unfortunate I wasn't able to realize that myself," Eickhoff said, "and throw that more in the game in that fourth inning."
The Phillies played seven games in this homestand. They scored a grand total of 17 runs. They had one hit in one and three hits in another.
The 1971 Phillies batted .231 in the first year at Veterans Stadium, the standard for inept offenses in Philadelphia. The 1942 Phillies, who played their games at Shibe Park during World War II, mustered a measly .292 on-base percentage. These current Phillies could break both marks without improvement.
In the meantime, they will leave home without hesitation.