Phillies lose yet again; Galvis' frustration boils over
The losingest franchise in sports history could test depths not experienced since the sad-sack teams fielded during World War II.
PHOENIX — Years from now, when the Phillies are competitive again, maybe you will remember this game with fondness. The time when a rookie pitcher, matched against a $206 million arm, wilted. When it looked like the Phillies, a bad baseball team, could do no worse. When everything good felt further away than ever before.
Freddy Galvis is 27 years old and the longest-tenured Phillies player. He debuted with Jimmy Rollins as his infield partner and Roy Halladay as his pitcher. As Galvis dressed Monday in a corner of the silent Phillies clubhouse after a 6-1 loss to the Diamondbacks, he fumed.
"It's hard," the shortstop said. "It's hard to see it. It's hard to believe it. [Expletive] it. We have to [expletive] play harder every single day. We have to try to do better."
That is reality for a team with 51 losses in its first 75 games. The roster is filled with players who will not be on the next winning Phillies team. The losingest franchise in sports history could test depths not experienced since the sad-sack teams fielded during World War II.
It is a dark time for baseball in Philadelphia, a time the team's executives have said is required to recapture happiness. If they are right, the 3 hours and 11 minutes spent playing Monday at Chase Field meant nothing.
"If it's not one thing it's another," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It's very tough to deal with. The guys have been real good about it, but the record is indicative of so many things that we're not doing well."
Consider this: At the 75-game mark, the Phillies are three games ahead of the 1962 Mets, the standard for baseball futility. They won't lose 120 games like that team, but the franchise's first 100-loss season since 1961 is well within reach.
So they march to that conclusion, hoping for a glimpse here or there. The front office lowered expectations before the season began. Has that crept into the clubhouse?
"If you get that into your mind, you're [doomed]," Galvis said. "We're players. We have to play hard, 24-7. And that's it. Yeah, they say we're a rebuilding team, but we still have good players here.
"We lose one, then we lose another one, and then it just keeps going and keeps going. For us, we have to have the same mentality every single day. Just try to win. It's not what you do in the clubhouse or what you talk, it's what you do outside. That's when you have to step up and do your best."
The fear is that constant losing drags some of the younger players into bad habits.
"I mean, we're losing, we're losing, we're losing and I don't see any change so far," Galvis said. "I don't see any change so far. If you get used to it, we're [doomed]. We have to have a different mentality every time we come here. We have to try to win. We have to try to fight for nine innings and 27 outs."
Nick Pivetta, so good in his previous two starts, could not throw strikes Monday. He walked five Diamondbacks in 2 2/3 innings. The sixth pitch Pivetta threw landed in the pool beyond the right-field wall for a leadoff homer by Chris Herrmann.
Pivetta permitted six runs. He recorded eight outs on 84 pitches. No Phillies starter since Terry Adams in 2002 had thrown as many pitches in fewer than three innings.
"I beat myself today," Pivetta said. "I pretty much only gave up two hard-hit balls, the double and the home run. All the rest were jam shots and weak balls through the infield. I beat myself today and let my team down."
The rest of the game was rendered moot. The Phillies, at this pace, would lose 110 games. Only the 1941 Phillies have lost more over 135 seasons of National League baseball in Philadelphia.
The level of effort concerns Galvis.
"I think we can do better," Galvis said. "I think we can do much better. The effort has to be more than we have right now if we want to win. The effort we have right now, we're not winning. I think we have to do a little bit more — if we want to win."