PHOENIX - The night he became the longest-tenured manager in 131 years of Phillies baseball, Charlie Manuel left his lineup on his desk. His players streamed from the clubhouse to the field for stretches two hours before first pitch. Manuel lounged on a tractor when Chase Utley tapped him on the knee to ask who was playing.
"I forgot to put the lineup up," Manuel said, shaking his head.
The Phillies dragged through Thursday, a 2-1 loss to Arizona, when the most rudimentary tasks were difficult. None of their pitchers could throw strikes. The bats were dulled by 23-year-old Patrick Corbin. The defense and baserunning were not pristine.
Cole Hamels sputtered in another erratic outing. Once again, he was not supported. The Phillies are 1-7 in his starts and most fault does not lie with Hamels. Corbin, who ranked fifth in the National League with a 1.80 ERA before Thursday, held the Phillies scoreless until the seventh inning.
Even then, they could not capitalize to the fullest. Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit with the bases loaded and one out. He flared one to right that forced the runners to freeze. When it fell, one run scored. But John Mayberry Jr. did not have enough time to advance from first to second and was forced out there. Jimmy Rollins then popped to shortstop and a prime chance was wasted.
Mayberry said he took a step back toward first at the last moment when second baseman Cliff Pennington lunged.
"From my vantage point, it looked close," Mayberry said. "I didn't want to get doubled off at first."
"I would say in order for him to be safe," Manuel said, "he has to get a better read."
The Phillies did not muster an extra-base hit until Domonic Brown's one-out double in the ninth. He was stranded there. Their pitchers walked eight batters, a season high. It was not like Arizona played sublime baseball; they twice scored without the ball leaving the infield.
Corbin helped himself with a groundout in the fifth inning to score the game's first run. At first, Manuel positioned his infielders in with runners on second and third and one out. But Corbin, a 1-for-13 hitter at the time, took a hearty hack and fouled one back. That prompted Manuel to move the infielders back to normal depth.
Corbin tapped one to Rollins at short. His only play was to first.
"We didn't want to give them two runs," Manuel said. "He hit the ball off the end of the bat. It still might've been a close play. But at the same time, we didn't want to give them two runs there. We're in the fifth inning."
Hamels appeared to lose his composure. He was most frustrated about not fielding the ball hit before Corbin's, one that could have been a double play. Corbin's grounder enraged him.
"He definitely doesn't score [if the infield is in]," Hamels said.
A similar situation unfolded in the sixth when the Diamondbacks put runners on the corners with one out. The middle infield stayed at double-play depth, and the corners crept closer. Gerardo Parra dropped a safety-squeeze bunt toward first. His execution was flawless.
Hamels fell into trouble throughout the night, and the potential for damage was much greater. He was spared by a baserunning blunder by Martin Prado in the second inning. Prado singled and darted around the bases on Parra's double to left. Third-base coach Matt Williams flashed a late stop sign. Prado was stuck between third and home and tagged out.
In the fifth, Paul Goldschmidt, one of the hottest hitters in the majors, batted with the bases loaded. Hamels escaped on a 2-2 change-up that Goldschmidt bounced to shortstop.
The first seven pitches Hamels threw Thursday were strikes and resulted in three outs. His command later waned. He walked five batters (one of them intentional) and fell behind many hitters.
It marked his third start of four-plus walks in 2013. Hamels had three such outings in 62 starts from 2011 to 2012. His 22 walks in 2013 represent 42 percent of last season's entire total (52). His ERA is 4.18, a number the $144 million pitcher and his teammates did not expect.
"I ultimately put a little too much pressure on making the right pitch, the most perfect pitch that I can," Hamels said. "I don't need to do that; I just need to throw strikes. There's a plate there, and I'm capable of throwing strikes. I don't have to place it too fine."
When asked about achieving a milestone as manager, Manuel deflected his thoughts to the current state of his mediocre club.
"If we win the game it'll feel better," Manuel said beforehand. "It feels fine. But at the same time, I've been thinking more of us getting going and getting above .500. We need to be in a good position when we do make a run."
That moment has yet to arrive.