If the Phillies want to repeat as division champions and last deep in the playoffs -- the team's mind-set must change.
It was suggested before the game that perhaps the team missed the leadership of the always boisterous Aaron Rowand, who never shied away from speaking his mind."I think Rowand has been missed and I believe in players policing themselves if they can," Manuel said. "Some guys can't police themselves or don't know how. If that's the case, somebody needs to police them." Though Rowand wore that uniform at times last season as a vocal leader, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jamie Moyer often led in more private ways. "Rowand talked more than them, but we've got guys in the locker room who can be that guy," Manuel said. While understanding that it's March 15, Manuel still doesn't like to see certain "guys that are too cool. There's a fine line between being relaxed and being complacent. We have something happening here, but it's nothing we can't take care of." That was said Friday, and nothing had changed Saturday. Manuel may have taken exception to Victorino's feelings on the matter. "Personally, I'm not too worried," Victorino said on Friday. "Yeah, it's upsetting for Charlie because he sees a team going out there and not really playing well. Our intensity is definitely not there. You watch how we play and I think that's frustrating to Charlie. The last 10-15 days you need to get in a grove so on Opening Day, you feel good at the plate. We're going to get there. No one is panicking here ... I'm not." Neither is Manuel, but he could be seeking a sense of urgency. After going 11-18 in Grapefruit League play in 2007, the team started off 4-11, then played catch-up all season. They made it, but Manuel may fear a repeat. A speech is coming soon. "I'll probably do it in a game someday and let everyone see," Manuel said.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less