As a long, miserable, losing season draws towards a close, the Phillies are frustrated, and it’s beginning..."/> As a long, miserable, losing season draws towards a close, the Phillies are frustrated, and it’s beginning..."/> As a long, miserable, losing season draws towards a close, the Phillies are frustrated, and it’s beginning..."/>

Phillies Frustration Beginning to Show

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As a long, miserable, losing season draws towards a close, the Phillies are frustrated, and it’s beginning to show.

During Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, manager Pete Mackanin made the decision to remove Odubel Herrera from the game in the 4th inning after the rookie threw his bat towards the Phillies’ on-deck circle and failed to hustle after hitting a weak fly ball to left field.

“He threw his bat after he popped out and he didn’t run hard so I took him out of the game,” Mackanin said, per Stan Awtrey for CSN Philly, after the latest defeat for his club.

This type of decision by a manager is not unfamiliar territory for the Phillies. Ex-skipper Charlie Manuel benched Jimmy Rollins in 2012 after the former MVP failed to hustle on a pop out that was ultimately dropped by a New York Mets fielder.

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Back then, Manuel and the Phils were in the midst of a frustrating season after having won 102 games the year before. The Phillies had high expectations, but fell tremendously short by finishing the campaign with an 81-81 record.

Manuel appeared to use Rollins as an example to send a message to a veteran team, saying that anything short of max effort wouldn’t be tolerated, and that any misconception that any player was above punishment because of their veteran status was absolutely false. 

Sep 22, 2015; Miami, FL, USA;

Philadelphia Phillies manager Mackanin pulling of Herrera was reminiscent of ex-skipper Manuel benching Rollins.

Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

This past Sunday was a little different. The Phillies’ roster is no longer filled with seasoned veterans who are accustomed to winning. Instead, it consists mostly of young players who haven’t won, and who are not mentally equipped to cope with failure at the big league level.

Mackanin seemed to be using Herrera to send a similar message as Manuel did back in 2012, except instead of benching a veteran like Rollins to send a message to a veteran team, a rookie Rule 5 Draft pick was used to make a statement to an inexperienced team.

Clearly, the frustration surrounding these Phillies, the team with the worst record in baseball, has reached a boiling point. Everybody is frustrated, including Mackanin, who just today had the “interim” tag removed.

Herrera’s recent struggles at the plate had caused him to wear his emotions on his sleeve more than Mackanin could tolerate. “Lately he’s been showing his emotions a little bit more and we’re not going to stand for it,” Mackanin said Sunday.

The offense, including Herrera, has struggled mightily in their last six games. The 23-year-old ‘El Torito’ has just 3 hits in his last 18 at-bats, and the offense as a whole has averaged just 2 runs per game. That includes a 7-run performance in a losing effort against the Washington Nationals on September 14th. As a result, the Phillies have lost six straight games, including three-straight 2-1 losses to the Braves last weekend.

Herrera has been one of the few bright spots for the Phillies in 2015, along with fellow rookies Aaron Nola and Maikel Franco. In 460 at-bats this season, Herrera has compiled a slash line of .293/.335/.417 to go along with 8 home runs, 27 doubles, and 40 RBI. His play on the field has passed the test, but his attitude on a last-place team still needs improvement, according to Mackanin.

“When you’re hitting and pitching and winning games, [baseball] is easy,Mackanin said. “Character comes out when you’re struggling. What kind of person you are. You cannot afford to pout and feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got to play like a man.” 

With just 12 games left in the season, the insufferable torture that has been the Phillies’ 2015 season is almost over. Judging from Sunday’s actions, both players and coaches appear eager to turn the page to 2016.

Next: Phils Bringing Mack Back: What It Means