You have to go back 52 years to find a series in which the Phillies were embarrassed quite as badly as they were the last three days in Arizona.
Not since 1969 had the Phillies been swept in a series of three or more games by a team that entered the series with a winning percentage of .320 or lower.
It happened to the Phillies in August 1923 when they were swept by the Boston Braves. It happened in September 1969 when they were swept by the Montreal Expos.
And it happened again Thursday when the Arizona Diamondbacks completed a three-game sweep of the freefalling Phils in Phoenix.
The Diamondbacks entered the series with a .319 winning percentage and a 38-81 record. They beat the Phils by scores of 3-2, 4-2 and 6-2.
The Phils are 61-60. They have fallen four games off the pace in the National League East after leading the division by two games on the morning of Aug. 10.
“It’s not fun not being able to play well and not being able to produce runs,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said after the demoralizing sweep. “There’s not a lot of happy guys in that clubhouse right now.
“I feel like we were on such a high a week ago, playing good baseball, then all of a sudden it tanks out. We have to be more consistent across the board, no matter who we’re playing.
“Obviously, when a team across from you isn’t trying to win, those games seem a little more winnable, but they’re still really good players over there and we didn’t focus enough, and we didn’t get the job done and they kicked the crap out of us. So, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we have to play better.
“We’re quite a few games back now. I don’t necessarily fear that (the Braves) could run away with it. I worry more about what we’re doing and the fact we’re not playing well. If we don’t win games, four teams could run away with it, not just the Braves.”
The Phillies have lost seven of their last nine. They’re hitting .181 and averaging 2.3 runs per game over that span.
After hitting .414 with two homers and 10 RBIs during the eight-game winning streak that vaulted the Phillies into first place earlier this month, Realmuto has nosedived. He is 3 for 26 since the eight-game winning streak. He was 0 for 11 in three games in Arizona.
“I’m not feeling very good, not seeing the ball as well as I usually do,” he said. “Mechanically, I’m not sure if there’s something going on or not. I just have to keep working in the cage and figure it out because this team needs me to hit and until I do we’ll probably just keep treading water, so I’ve got to find a way to get better.”
Realmuto has played 28 of the last 32 games.
“My body is fine,” he said. “I feel good there. It’s more mental than anything. Not hitting and the team not playing well takes a toll on you mentally. But physically, I’m in a good place.”
Realmuto said he believes he and his teammates are simply trying to do too much at the plate.
“We just have to continue with our process and continue staying aggressive up there and try to get our confidence back,” Realmuto said. “I feel like right now as a group we’re trying to do too much up there and putting ourselves in holes and not getting the job done and when that happens it has a domino effect and spreads to your teammates.
“Once one guy gets hot, it gets contagious and we’ll score some runs from there.”
The Phillies are close to getting Rhys Hoskins, the team leader in homers and RBIs, back. He could return this weekend in San Diego.
“Brad (Miller) has done a good job filling in in that spot,” Realmuto said. “He’s been one of our better hitters since Rhys has been out, and the production he brings is really helping us a lot.
“It’s really on the rest of us. The rest of us are underperforming more than us missing Rhys. Obviously, he’s a huge part of our team and we can’t wait to get him back, but the rest of us have to carry a little more weight when he’s not there and we’re not doing that.”