This is what happens when you have low expectations

This is what happens when the manager starts the season with low expectations.

I didn't like it back in the winter when Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin said his hope for the season was that his team could maybe play .500 baseball.

This is the result.

Talk about low expectations.

The Phillies are in free-fall, threatening to return to the ugly days when the team routinely would be out of the race before Memorial Day.

Well, Memorial Day arrives next weekend, and the Phillies arrive back home after a horrendous road trip.

Yesterday, they got a boost with a great start by Aaron Nola on his return after a stint on the disabled list, only to see their bats again fall silent. They got shut out, 1-0, by the Pirates.

And of course they got to witness still another blatant lack of effort by Odubel Herrera, who for some reason again decided against running on a dribbler that he no doubt thought was a foul ball. Doesn't matter. It's all part of the tone of this team.

Mackanin's staff isn't helping him much either.

Pitching coach Bob McClure for some reason decided to take apart catcher Cameron Rupp, thus putting question marks into the heads of his starting pitchers.

This comes after one of his relievers expressed dissatisfaction at the way they are being used.

Struggling starter Vince Velasquez admitted he's lost out there on the mound.

The loss yesterday left the Phils with 17 losses in their last 21 games. They've now dropped seven straight series.

Something needs to be done.

Then again, when your goal is to play .500 ball, this is about what you might expect.

The Phillies are playing down to the level of their manager's expectations.