ATLANTA - The scribbled and worn lineup card sat on Charlie Manuel's desk. He picked it up, looked at it quickly, and made one deduction: This isn't Milt Thompson's doing.
Ostensibly, blame for the Phillies' historic hitting slump will fall to Thompson, the team's hitting coach. Many times, a hitting coach will take the fall for a team's offensive struggles.
Manuel, a hitting coach before becoming a manager, was supportive of Thompson on Wednesday after the Phillies' 2-1 loss to Atlanta.
"It's definitely not Milt Thompson's fault," Manuel said. "He doesn't do the hitting."
One scan of the lineup card can prove that, he said.
"You've got to hold people [accountable]," Manuel said of his hitters. "I don't see a young player on our roster. These guys have been around a long time. If they haven't learned something from their hitting by now, and they don't know some of the things that they do when they go bad . . . we can talk to them and we can tell them things that we see. I talk to them all the time, and I hear Milt talk to them."
Already, one team has fired its hitting coach. The Seattle Mariners let Alan Cockrell go on May 9. They remain last in the American League West, seven games out of first place entering Wednesday night.
And though the Phillies' slide has been inconceivable, there doesn't appear to be a reason to make rash decisions yet.
"We've played about as bad as we can here the past two weeks and we're still in pretty good shape," rightfielder Jayson Werth said before the game.
Manuel said he knows there are more than enough conversations among Thompson, the players, and himself.
"You're the one making the outs," Manuel said. "That's how I look at it. It's up to you to master your hitting. If you listen and you learn, the more you play, you should know something about yourself."
Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Cole Hamels, who threw only 24 pitches in his rain-shortened start Tuesday, will stay on schedule and make his next start in five days. That will come against Florida on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.
"We like the order," Dubee said.
Manuel said the Phillies never really considered bringing back Hamels once the 64-minute delay went beyond a half hour. That, Dubee said, was because Hamels' routine in his previous start at New York was interrupted by rain, too.
"How many times do you want to do it?" Dubee asked a reporter.
In the game against the Mets, the Phillies sat through a 115-minute rain delay before the start of the game. Hamels already had begun his warm-up tosses before the rain came. He needed to throw an extra 25 or 30 pitches later, Dubee said.
"I'm not a big believer in bringing guys back like that," Dubee said. "Sometimes you have to. We were pretty fresh in the bullpen. A day off Thursday will help."
The Braves kept their starter, Tim Hudson, in the game. He allowed two runs in six innings.
Injured shortstop Jimmy Rollins continues to hold about a 22,000-vote lead over Hanley Ramirez in all-star fan voting. Second baseman Chase Utley, third baseman Placido Polanco, and outfielder Jayson Werth also still lead at their respective positions.
Shane Victorino dropped behind Los Angeles' Andre Ethier for the third and final starting spot in the outfield. Catcher Carlos Ruiz tightened the gap behind St. Louis' Yadier Molina to 78,000 votes.
Voting ends July 1.
With Werth batting leadoff Wednesday, Victorino sat for just the second time in 2010. He pinch-hit and struck out against Billy Wagner to end the game. Since May 19, Victorino is hitting .176 (9 for 51) with just one RBI. . . . Rollins will take a break from his rehabilitation from a strained right calf to participate in his annual charity bowling outing in Philadelphia on Thursday. The event benefits the Pennsylvania Arthritis Foundation and the Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation.