Pete Mackanin gave his team an earful after it lost for the 21st time in 26 games Friday night.
Reliever Joaquin Benoit thought it was a good idea.
And he believes it had an impact.
The Phillies reported for work on Saturday and beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3, on Tommy Joseph's walk-off hit in the ninth (see game story).
"It always helps when the manager comes and talks about different situations and the things we need to do," said Benoit, a 39-year-old veteran in his 17th big-league season. "It always helps. It shows that everybody cares on the whole team and it's a wake-up call for everybody."
While Joseph was the ultimate hero for the Phillies on Saturday, Benoit and his mates in the bullpen weren't far behind. Edubray Ramos, Pat Neshek, Benoit and Hector Neris combined on 3 2/3 scoreless innings to help put Joseph in a position to win it in the ninth.
Not long ago, the Phillies' bullpen was having big problems, giving up big hits and posting big ERA numbers.
But over the last five games, the bullpen has racked up a string of scoreless innings that numbers 19 2/3. That scoreless streak has lowered the bullpen's overall ERA from 4.82 to 4.23, not great, but better and moving in the right direction.
"I believe that we are going good, taking advantage of the situation," Benoit said. "I think we are being more consistent in the strike zone and getting ahead. That translates to zeroes."
Benoit had been critical of Mackanin for not having his relievers in set roles. The manager responded by saying it was difficult to give guys set roles when they were pitching poorly.
Performances are improving.
And roles are now emerging.
"I believe everything is going well for us and I believe everyone is where they are supposed to be," Benoit said.
Benoit took some pride in Saturday's win. He has pitched seven straight scoreless innings.
"Every win is a step forward," he said.
No matter how many steps this Phillies team takes forward, it will not be a contender this season. It has dug itself a huge hole and it wasn't expected to contend anyway. It is a rebuilding team.
But Benoit will likely pitch for a contender later this season. He is expected to be dealt to a contender in July. Who knows what he will bring back, but his value will only go up if he can keep putting up zeroes.
Neshek, too. He has allowed just two runs in 18 2/3 innings. He has 15 strikeouts and just three walks.
While it's not clear how long Benoit will be here, he believes this Phillies team has weathered the worst and is ready for a turnaround.
"It's tough when you are losing," he said. "When you start winning and you do the little things, I believe everything can change.
"I'm the kind of guy who likes to start over from zero so everything that happens is in the past and you start over from scratch and let's see where everything goes from now on."