The Phillies flew into Atlanta fresh off of a productive homestand that saw them win four consecutive games, three in walk-off fashion. Despite still being in last place, they had a healthy roster and felt as if they could make one final run at turning a lost season around and breathe life into a possible race at a postseason berth.
But the horror show that is the summer of 2012 reared its ugly head upon arrival at Turner Field. For the second time this month, the Phils suffered a deflating three-game sweep to the Braves.
Roy Halladay gave up three runs on six hits, including two home runs, in the first three innings of Sunday's 6-2 defeat. The Phils sunk to a season-high 16 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals in the NL East, and they continue to face a double-digit deficit in the race for a wild-card spot, too.
The reality began to sank in with the players inside the visiting clubhouse, some of whom could be traded off prior to Tuesday's trade deadline. The five-time reigning NL East champs, billed as a World Series contender last winter, are instead looking like sellers.
"I think where we're at speaks for itself," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We're definitely behind. Our record, if we were .500 and jumped these teams, we might be able to do it. We're what, 12 games under .500 with 60 to play? We would have to come a long ways."
Shane Victorino, a free-agent-to-be who could highlight the moves general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. might make, went 3-for-4 with a home run in Sunday's defeat. Victorino, who has been a part of a Phillies core of players that has won five divisions, two NL pennants and a World Series, said he didn't think about whether Sunday might have been his final game in a Phillies uniform.
The Phillies are off Monday before beginning a three-game series in Washington on Tuesday.
"I don't pay attention, I really don't," Victorino said following Sunday's loss. "Whatever happens happens. I just want to keep playing, and that's what I'm focused on. Obviously, everything's being said, and I've been the person everybody's talking around. If it happens, it happens. Again, I don't go out there and I'm not worried about that. I just want to keep playing and wearing the 'P' on my hat and 'Phillies' across my chest, and that's what I'm focused on."