Big meeting upstairs is prelude to Phillies’ 9th straight loss

Jim Salisbury
NBC Sports Philadelphia
<p>Before the Phillies fell to their ninth straight loss Friday night, 10-2 to the Braves, the team held a big meeting upstairs. By Jim Salisbury </p>

Big meeting upstairs is prelude to Phillies’ 9th straight loss

Before the Phillies fell to their ninth straight loss Friday night, 10-2 to the Braves, the team held a big meeting upstairs. By Jim Salisbury

BOX SCORE 

Given the team's monstrous free fall in the standings, there isn't much need for a lot of game detail in these nightly Phillies obituaries.

But we are required to point out the final result.

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Even ugly ones.

The Phillies were beaten again on Friday night. Their 10-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves was their ninth straight defeat and it ensured the grim reality of a sixth straight losing season.

That seemed unthinkable back on Aug. 7 when the Phillies beat Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks to go 15 games over .500 and 1½ games up on then second-place Atlanta in the NL East.

Since then the Braves have gone 29-21 to blow past the Phillies and win the division.

Over the same span, the Phillies have gone 14-33, including 6-20 in September. Only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record over that span at 12-34. The Orioles have the worst record in the majors. They entered Friday 60½ games back in the American League East.

The Phillies have been outscored 70-21 over the last nine games.

Wise guy

A writer from Atlanta walked into the press box a little after 3 in the afternoon, put his computer bag down and said, "Remember when this was supposed to be a big series?"

Yeah, we do.

Not long ago, the Phillies pointed to the fact that they could still win the division because seven of their final 11 games were against the Braves.

The Phillies are 0-5 against Atlanta in the last eight days. They were eliminated from contention last weekend in Atlanta.

So much for the drama.

Actually, there is some remaining drama.

There are two games remaining. The Phillies can't actually finish the season with 11 straight losses, can they?

Aaron Nola gets the ball Saturday night. And even though the Braves have won the division, they are still in full competitive mode as they try to lock down home-field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Terrible offense

The Phils were out-hit, 19-4. Two of their hits came in the ninth inning.

They struck out 14 times. They have reached double digits in strikeouts 77 times.

Kapler mum on meeting

Manager Gabe Kapler's regular pregame session with reporters was pushed back about an hour because there was a big meeting upstairs.

Was the meeting a reaction to the team's dreadful 0-8 road trip to Atlanta and Denver?

Was it about the collapse?

Who was in the meeting?

Was ownership there? Managing partner John Middleton, who can't be liking any of this, was in the house for Friday night's loss.

Kapler was pretty tight-lipped on the matter.

"Just normal, end-of-season meetings," he said. "Nothing in particular."

Who was there?

"We had a large group," he said. "I'm not going to get too far into it. Just normal, end-of-year meetings. Anything else?"

Solid debut 

One-hundred-sixty games into the season, Jerad Eickhoff made his first start. The right-hander, who had battled injury since spring training, struck out eight and walked none over 3 1/3 innings of two-run ball.

Kapler pulled Eickhoff after he allowed a couple of hard-hit balls, including a homer, in the fourth inning. It seemed to be a quick hook. Kapler made two pitching changes in the inning and both times heard boos on his way back to the dugout.

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