The Phillies have gone 3-6 over their last nine games. They won two of three against the Pirates, were swept by the Dodgers in a four-game set and have split the first two against the Padres.

Their miserable run has cost them the lead in the NL East. They start the day at 65-58, two games behind the Mets in the division. They’ve scored 30 runs in their last nine games, three or less in five of the nine. Three or less in the last three. They’ve lost five of six and the game they won they needed seven shutout innings from their starter and scored one run.

The Phils split the first two games in the set with Pittsburgh despite getting two excellent starts. Blanton allowed one hit and two walks over seven scoreless innings in the first game. Walrond was hit hard in the top of the 12th and the Pirates scored two runs to break up the scoreless tie. Pittsburgh won the game 2-0. Myers held Pittsburgh to a single run in the second game and pitched into the eighth. Rollins went 4-for-4 with a stolen base and Victorino was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI to pace the offense as the Phils won 4-2. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh in game three, the Phils scored four unanswered runs to come out with a 6-3 win. Utley’s two-run shot in the seventh put the Phils up to stay. Scott Eyre made his Phillies’ debut as the pen went three scoreless innings in relief of Moyer.

And then the Phils dropped four in a row to the Dodgers. Kendrick got lit up in the first game, unable to get out of the fourth inning. The fourth ended with the Phils down 7-1. They outscored the Dodgers 5-1 the rest of the way but still came up on the short end of an 8-6 score. Howard took an 0-for-5 on the day but drove in two runs to give him 100 on the season.

The Phils jumped out to an early 3-1 lead behind Hamels in game two, but Durbin gave up a run in the eighth on a hit, a walk, a hit batter and a sac fly to tie the game at 3-3. Romero pitched the ninth hit Russell Martin to start the inning. Martin scored two batters later on a single by Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers a 4-3 win.

The Phils led 6-1 in the third in game three, but Blanton couldn’t make it hold up. He left charged with four runs on nine hits and three walks. With the game tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth it was Condrey who gave it up for good this time — Nomar hit a 2-1 pitch out to left to give LA a 7-6 win.

One run for the Phils in game four as they fell 3-1. The Phils had two hits in the game, doubles by Utley and Werth, as the three runs the Dodgers scored charged to Myers proved to be enough.

On Friday, Jamie Moyer was fantastic. He held the Padres to three hits and two walks over seven shutout innings. Pat Burrell gave the Phils the only run they needed with a solo shot off of San Diego starter Greg Maddux in the seventh. Lidge pitched for the first time in a week and nailed down the save as the Phils won 1-0.

Last night Kendrick got blasted again. He allowed six runs on six hits and five walks over 3 2/3 innings and the Phillies never recovered. They have five singles and a double in the game and lost 8-3. Over his last two starts Kendrick has gone seven innings, allowing 13 runs on 15 hits and eight walks. His ERA for the year is at 5.01.

Seemingly minor injuries to Dobbs, Victorino and Lidge would be the rest of the recent story had it not been for Jimmy Rollins’ comments on Philadelphia fans. Whether you agree with him or not, Phillies’ fans don’t have a whole lot of experience as front-runners. Maybe he was talking about the four days they had a share of the division-lead in 2007. Either way, Jimmy Rollins has to know he can’t beat the fans. He’s outnumbered. And if he’s going to tell fans that he has given the same effort in 2008 as he did in 2007 and 2006 I’m willing to believe him given what he’s done for the Phillies in recent years. But he needs to understand that that sure isn’t the way it has looked.

Charlie Manuel may be the guy with the biggest problem. Cause if he can’t get the most out of his players he’s just a guy who pinch-runs for Burrell in the seventh, blows out his bullpen and lets Abraham Nunez on the field. This year there’s been more than one guy on his team whose actions seem to suggest he’s a little baffled that everyone isn’t more overjoyed the Phils got swept out of the playoffs by Colorado last season. Sadly for Manuel, he seems like the ringleader of the group of Phillies that understand they haven’t won anything yet. Haven’t won anything for a long time.

At this point, I think most of us would settle for a game.

Update 8/18/08: Well, it took another fantastic pitching performance, but the Phils won last night. They beat the Padres 2-1 to take the series two games to one.

They scored three runs in the two games they won and six in the set. With the win they are 66-58 on the season.

Hamels went eight strong innings for the Phils. He allowed a run on seven hits, all of which were singles. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.

Jimmy Rollins created a run for the Phils in the first when he singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher. He came in to score on a sac fly by Werth. Burrell put the Phils up 2-0 with a home run in the sixth. San Diego scored one in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t get any more. After Hamels went eight, Lidge nailed down his 30th save of the year in the ninth.

No game today. The Phils play the Nats on Tuesday.