Thursday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves was a sad commentary on the state of starting pitching in the Phillies' system and the entire organization -- from the front office that assembled this group to the scouting and player-development staffs that haven’t procured and produced enough talent -- can share in the embarrassment.

It’s not Tyler Cloyd’s fault that the Phillies were hammered 7-1 by the Atlanta Braves (see Instant Replay). Frankly his previous three starts were so bad that he should have been replaced in the rotation. But the Phillies have no one better. They have run out of viable pitchers as the team’s first losing season since 2002 a dispiriting campaign that claimed Charlie Manuel limps to a close.

Earlier in the week Manuel’s replacement Ryne Sandberg talked about the need to upgrade and deepen the starting rotation before next season.

He had the opportunity to do it again after his team’s seventh loss in the last eight games.

“Depth even starting pitching depth” he said. “To have backups at Triple A let alone the rotation yeah that’s very evident right now.”

Pitching hasn’t been the only problem recently. The Phils have produced just five runs in the last four games. They have gone eight straight games without a home run their longest drought since 1996 when they were the worst team in the NL.