ATLANTA - At 11:30 a.m., Charlie Manuel had a clubhouse employee turn off the big-screen TV showing the movie Gran Torino. A handful of Phillies had gathered around to watch. Quietly, Manuel seethed from his office.
"What the hell?" Manuel said he thought. "We should be getting ready for the damn game."
There is some complacency around this Phillies team that was swept by Atlanta in a 2-1 loss Wednesday, Manuel said. For the first time in more than a year, the Phillies are 21/2 games out of first place.
The Phils have not scored more than three runs in any of their last 11 games, nine of which have been losses. In the last 40 years, that stretch of offensive futility has been matched just once, in 1997.
The 2-7 road trip marked the worst record for the Phillies on a nine-game trip since 2006.
No, Manuel said, the complacency he detects isn't the sole reason why the Phillies have spiraled into a free fall. Not at all.
Seven days earlier, Manuel held a brief meeting with his team after being shut out by the Mets for a second straight game. It was then when he reinforced how the Phillies' positive attitude and confidence was what made them back-to-back National League champions. That, he said, was the thing to remember.
So the pregame scene in the visitors' clubhouse at Turner Field made Manuel upset.
"When we go bad," Manuel said, "that's when we really need to stay focused and on the right path."
Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino said they don't sense any complacency inside the Phillies' clubhouse. They cited this team having overcome past losing streaks as a basis for confidence.
"Deep down in the back of our heads, we know, 'Hey, we're a good enough team that if we can find a way to get out of this rut we can make up ground like that,' " Victorino said. "From what I see it's not complacency. We understand we've been here. We have to find a way."
Wednesday's game was lost in the eighth inning under an unlikely set of circumstances. Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones left in the fifth inning with inflammation in his right ring finger, leaving a hole in the middle of the Braves' lineup. Phillies righthander Jose Contreras intentionally walked Jason Heyward to face Jones' replacement, Omar Infante.
Infante promptly singled over Utley's glove to score the eventual winning run.
It was just the second run Contreras has allowed all season - both coming at Turner Field.
The offense and bullpen ruined an outstanding outing from fifth starter Kyle Kendrick. He allowed one run on five hits over seven innings.
"That's the best I've seen him pitch all year," Manuel said.
These days, a Phillies starter has to be near flawless. In seven of their last 11 games, the Phillies have scored either zero or one run.
Utley said the team's focus has remained strong.
"It seems that way," Utley said. "We're not really swinging the bats well, obviously. Our pitching staff has done a good job of keeping us in a lot of games, which is a good sign."
But eventually, merely looking for silver linings will have to evolve into actually winning games.
That's why this, Manuel said, will be a good test for his team.
"When you play this game, you can't take anything for granted because it's an everyday process," Manuel said. "Just because we did something last year doesn't mean we're going to do it again this year. It's hard. You have to make sure that you stay focused, keep the same intensity, that same drive."