The Phillies were limited to four hits Sunday afternoon at Turner Field. Interestingly, three of those hits came from players who normally don't find themselves in the starting lineup: John Mayberry Jr., Michael Martinez and Pete Orr.
Although they still sit at the top spot in the National League East, the Phils have lost five of their last nine games. And all nine of those games have come against the two teams on their heels in the NL East: the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins. The Phils have scored 2.9 runs per game during that nine-game stretch.
"Our hitting has to pick up," said Manuel, whose offense has scored three runs or fewer in 20 of their 39 games. "We have to score more runs. We're going to find hits, we'll find somebody. We'll find people -- or we'll (gosh darn) look until we find somebody. Seriously. That's how I look at it. We'll keep experimenting until we get people."
The Phils could benefit with increased playing time from Mayberry Jr. The 27-year-old Mayberry, the son of the former Kansas City Royals outfielder with the same name, was 1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and a stolen base in the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
Mayberry has started just seven games this season. Ben Francisco, the team's primary right fielder in the season's first six weeks, is batting .222 on the season and .094 in May.
"I've always had him in mind to try to give him some playing time. The better he does, the more playing time he'll get," Manuel said of Mayberry. "That's what happened to Jayson Werth, (Ryan) Howard and (Shane) Victorino. That's how they became regulars for us. Play good enough and you can win a job, you can move anybody."
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