PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is trying everything he possibly can to get his offense going.
Saturday, he moved slugger Maikel Franco into the sixth spot in the batting order. He was there again Sunday, but went hitless and has now gone hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
Mackanin has tried benching second baseman Cesar Hernandez, putting Andres Blanco into the lineup, slotting his best hitter, Odubel Herrera, third instead of leadoff.
Nothing has worked.
Sunday, the Phillies mustered three hits in a 5-1 loss to Arizona.
"We need some professional at-bats," Mackanin said.
"I just saw where Atlanta won their fifth game in a row. As bad as they've been playing... At some point, we're going to snap out of this. We'll be fine. It might be tomorrow. It might be on the road. I'm anticipating us to improve."
Perhaps it will be Monday, when the Phillies wrap up a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They will send righty Jeremy Hellickson (4-5, 4.46 ERA) to the mound to take on righty Shelby Miller (1-6, 7.09), who is returning from the 15-day disabled list (right index finger sprain).
The Phillies lost their sixth straight Sunday and 10th of their last 11. They own the league's worst record since May 18.
"We just have to hold down the fort," Mackanin said.
It's been going the opposite way over in the visitor's clubhouse.
The Diamondbacks, who won their first series in Philadelphia since 2007, are winners in six of eight.
"The guys are really bearing down and playing," said manager Chip Hale. "We're getting good starting pitching. The hitters are comfortable. Everything is clicking right now."
It clicked Sunday with starting pitcher Archie Bradley, who allowed one unearned run, gave up three hits and struck out five in six innings.
He got out of a crucial, bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth inning, only allowing one run after a key double play.
"That was a huge point in the game for Archie to pick up our defense," Hale said. "Best thing you can do there is get a double play and, sure enough, he got it. That's the pitcher picking up the defense, which is a huge part of being a good team."
Lately, the Diamondbacks are looking like exactly that. They will be looking for a big comeback outing from Miller on Monday.
The storyline Monday is the young pitcher, coming off the disabled list and looking to improve his performance, against an offense that hasn't been able to produce much of anything lately.
"It's something we have to find how to get out of," said Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp. "It's part of the game. At some point it seems like every team will go through this. We're just in the middle of a bad rut. But we've got to come out tomorrow, keep battling and go from there."