PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a nightmare of a road trip, the Phillies were four games below .500 and entered Monday 8 1/2 games back of first place in their division.
However, "underachieving" is not a label manager Charlie Manuel would use to describe his club.
"No, I don't," Manuel said when asked if he thought his team has underachieved to this point in the season. "As a matter of fact, we might be playing as good or better than we could play. We'll see."
The Phillies do have an offense that struggles to score runs and a bullpen that opponents feast on, but with a plethora of injuries, Manuel has had to use some makeshift lineups that make the Opening Day batting order look foreign.
While the team had lost seven of nine and had a 33-37 record entering Monday, it could be worse. The Phillies have a minus-49 run differential -- which tied them with the Dodgers for the third-worst mark in the National League.
Manuel said he thinks if his team can get to .500 or even a few games better by the All-Star break in four weeks, it will have a chance to make a second-half push.
"We have to start playing a lot better baseball," Manuel said. "If that's overachieving, that's what we have to do."
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.