Mackanin: Phils need to 'inch our way back'

Team's 17-34 record is worst start through 51 games since 1945

Mackanin: Phils need to 'inch our way back'

Can the Phillies find the reset button?

Philadelphia finished a historically trying month on Wednesday afternoon with a 10-2 loss to Miami at Marlins Park. The Phillies went 6-22 (.214) in May -- their worst May since 1928, when they went 3-22 (.120). The Phillies are 17-34 overall, their worst start through 51 games since 1945, when they went 11-40.

"I'm glad we're going into June," Mackanin told reporters afterward. "Put May behind us, that's the only thing we can do. We've got to keep looking to win, game by game, and inch our way back."

Mackanin tried a bit of everything to snap the Phillies from their month-long funk. He tried to be upbeat in a pregame meeting May 19 in Pittsburgh. He ripped into his players on Friday in a postgame meeting in Philadelphia. He benched Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera. He dropped Michael Saunders in the lineup. He reverted to his Opening Day lineup, hoping to rekindle some of the luck the Phillies had in April when they started 11-9. He met privately with players, trying to motivate them or simply get their thoughts on the team's poor play.

But those efforts only go so far when the rotation posts a 6.55 ERA in May, which was more than a half-earned-run worse than the Reds for the worst mark in baseball. Combine poor starting pitching with an offense that ranked 28th in baseball, averaging 3.54 runs per game, and it is no wonder the team lost 22 games.

"Everything turned around so quick," Freddy Galvis said about the Phillies' 11-9 start, followed by their current 6-25 slide. "I think we have to turn around everything. We have to play better baseball. Everybody is trying to do what we're supposed to do and push a little more to play better baseball."

Altherr's RBI single to center

It starts with the rotation, because if the rotation doesn't improve dramatically, the losing will continue. And that task just became more difficult with Vince Velasquez suffering an elbow injury and Zach Eflin getting optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley because of his struggles. Ben Lively figures to take one of those spots.

"I think we've got to just keep chipping away, take it one game at a time," said Aaron Nola, who allowed four runs in just three innings Wednesday. "That's all we can do right now."

Fans have been demanding a shakeup, but it sounds like a significant one is unlikely -- at least in the short term. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said on Comcast SportsNet's pregame show Wednesday that Franco and Herrera are not expected to be sent to Triple-A. He reiterated his support of Mackanin, who signed a contract extension May 11, and pitching coach Bob McClure. Klentak also said the Phillies are not going to rush prospects to the big leagues as short-term fixes.

So it seems the current group will have to turn things around on its own. That isn't a bad thing. After all, this season is about seeing who should be part of the team's future.

"We need a series like they just had," Mackanin said about the Marlins, who swept the Phillies over three games. "That's what we're looking for. That might spur them on. That might give them the spark they needed. That's what I want to see."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.