When Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel wrote out his lineup card Thursday morning, the highlight was the last name he penciled in: Cole Hamels. On a day game after a night game, Manuel gave his hot-hitting catcher and current cleanup hitter Carlos Ruiz the day off, and, in turn, was left with another hole in the middle of his lineup and what amounted to his worst defensive unit of the season.
With Placido Polanco nursing a left hand injury and Freddy Galvis placed on the disabled list due to a back injury, Manuel was left with an infield that included Mike Fontenot at second base, Ty Wigginton at third and John Mayberry Jr. at first base. They were charged with three errors -- a fourth was later changed by the official scorer -- in the Phillies' 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia's season-high sixth consecutive defeat.
The three errors tied a season high for the Phillies, who have been known for their sturdy work in the field during their five-year reign atop the National League East. But they're in last place, due in part to the personnel on the field, with 13 different players having been on the disabled list this season.
"The injuries, if we're using the injuries, that's just an excuse in my mind," Wigginton said. "Every team out there ... the Dodgers didn't have Matt Kemp. That's one of the best players in the game. Injuries are an excuse."
An excuse, sure, but a valid one in the wake of another sloppy defeat. The Phils don't have one All-Star player sidelined; they have three: Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
It total, the Phils currently have nine players on the DL after slick-fielding rookie second baseman Galvis officially went on Thursday morning. Despite the mounting losses that are matching the never-ending slew of injuries, the Phils do not want to point to backup personnel as the reason for their current predicament.
"I'm not making excuses -- that's all gone," Shane Victorino said. "I've always said when our backs are against the wall, we play our best. And it seems like our backs are pretty much pressed as far back to the wall as they can get.
"I think it's a time for us to take a gut check, check ourselves and do what we can do. Again, ultimately we are a great team, we just have to go out and let it all hang out and let it happen."