They lost to the Reds, 3-0, to fall to 17-22, their worst start since they opened 17-22 in 2005. They have lost eight of their last 10 games, including four shutouts.
"It just comes as a team, man," Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown said about the struggling offense. "When you struggle, everyone struggles. But we have some professional hitters here. I think things are definitely going to turn around for us. For myself, and for everyone. Right now, it's just not going that way. That's baseball. You just have to keep moving forward. Keep battling. That's it."
The Phillies jostled their lineup in an effort to jumpstart an offense that is averaging just 2.89 runs per game at home this season, which is last in baseball. Ben Revere's stomach virus gave manager Ryne Sandberg an opportunity to take him out of the lineup. Revere's .289 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot this season ranked 23rd out of 25 hitters with 100 or more plate appearances in the top spot this season.
Only Washington's Denard Span (.288) and Seattle's Abraham Almonte (.260) had been worse.
Sandberg moved Jimmy Rollins (.357) back into the leadoff spot for the first time this season and had Carlos Ruiz (.385) hit second.
Rollins and Ruiz reached base in three of their first six plate appearances, but the Phillies went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position for the night, stranding nine runners on base, six of them against Reds right-hander Alfredo Simon.
"I know it's weird for me, going up there and seeing us as a whole not driving in runs with runners in scoring position," Brown said. "We definitely have to do a better job. I think it'll come."
The Reds took a 3-0 lead in the first inning without Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the lineup, the first time the Reds have been without them in the lineup since Sept. 20, 2012. They both pinch-hit in that game against the Cubs, but with Bruce on the disabled list with an injured left knee and Votto in Cincinnati getting a MRI on his left knee, they would not appear at all on Friday.
It was the first time since Aug. 28, 2012, that Votto or Bruce did not appear in a game for the Reds.
"Look at that as an opportunity," Sandberg said before the game. "Those are two big bats that they'll be missing, so look at that as a chance to do something and catch them at this time."
But Billy Hamilton started the game with a single to right field, and Skip Schumaker followed with a flare to left field. The ball, which appeared to be catchable, fell in front of Brown and put runners on first and second with no outs.
"I know that he didn't get a jump on the ball," Sandberg said.
"I just didn't think I could get to it," Brown said. "I didn't want to try to force it, make a diving play there and if it goes past me, especially when I know I have Hamilton on first base. A couple years ago I probably would have dove after that, maybe missed it and it goes to the wall or whatever. I know early on I want to keep everything in front of me, keep the double play in order. It just didn't work out."
Had Brown been able to catch the ball, it could have been the first out of a harmless inning.
Kyle Kendrick got Brandon Phillips to fly out and Todd Frazier to pop out for the first and second outs, but Devin Mesoraco hit a 2-1 cutter to left field for a three-run home run in his first game back from the DL.
"It was almost the same pitch that Frazier popped up," Kendrick said. "But it was still up. I didn't want to go 3-1. I wanted to throw a strike right there. I left it up a little bit. He ended up getting it out of here."
They would be the only runs Kendrick would allow in seven innings. He is 0-9 in 15 starts dating back to Aug. 11 last season. It is the longest stretch of losses from a Phillies starter since Matt Beech lost 11 games over 21 starts from Aug. 13, 1996, to Aug. 2, 1997.
The Phillies have been shut out five times and have scored one run or fewer in eight of those starts by Kendrick, including Friday's disappointing output.
"It just didn't happen tonight," Sandberg said.