Two years ago, after the Phillies were swept in four games in Houston, manager Charlie Manuel went on a mini-tirade while talking with reporters after the game. Although his team was still up by a handful of games, he wanted to remind everyone that even though they were the 2008 World Series champions, it didn't mean squat in 2009.
A calmer but still disappointed Manuel spoke to his team on Tuesday night following another late season lull in Houston.
"I had a little talk to them," Manuel said. "I just want us to be more alert and play the game how we can. It was no big talk or nothing like that. It was to remind them we want to play better."
The Phillies' 5-2 loss at Minute Maid Park extended their losing streak to three games. It's the longest they've had since dropping four straight from May 31 to June 4.
Even though his team still holds an 11-game lead in the National League East standings and has a magic number of one to clinch a postseason berth, Manuel wanted to make sure his players knew they need to begin playing like themselves again.
"You come to play every night and you come to play the right way," Manuel said. "If we hustle and make physical mistakes, you can buy into that. But if you start making mental mistakes and being sloppy and taking things for granted, we don't want to play that way. I feel like we're much better than that."
The Phillies made two errors on Tuesday night; it was the first time they had made multiple errors in a game since May 13. The Phillies entered the night with the fewest errors in baseball.
But it was more than the uncharacteristic play in the field that bothered Manuel; it was also the overall lackluster effort.
"We're obviously disappointed in our performance the last two nights," John Mayberry Jr. said. "We've noticed the difference in our play the last two nights. It's not characteristic of this ballclub. We need to turn it around and we need to do that as quickly as possible."