The last time the Padres took the field in Philadelphia in front of a sell out crowd, one of the most iconic moments in Phillies franchise history was taking place.

This time? It wasn’t quite the same.

Oh, the crowd was there. The two teams were there. Many of the same characters were on the stage, but the outcome, the emotion, the vibe, it was totally different.

The Padres spanked the Phillies 8-3 in a game in which the players seemed sleepy, the Padres were smacking the ball all over the yard, and the Phillies coaching staff opted to punt in the kickoff to the second half for the second straight season.

It was the typical Phillies game for 2023, the kind that frustrates fans to no end.

There was bad defense – although the mental errors in this game didn’t hurt them, and ended up just being annoying.

There was an invisible offense in clutch situations as the Phillies left nine men on base and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position – again.

And there was the weird choice to not use any of the top pitchers on the staff after having four days off.

Christopher Sanchez started and was meh. He only allowed three hits in five innings, but two of them were home runs on absolutely dreadful change ups. One to Gary Sanchez with two strikes that should never be thrown in this location with two strikes:

The other came on a pitch to Fernando Tatis, Jr. who was absolutely sitting on a first pitch change up and… well… did this:

But when Sanchez left the game, the Phillies only trailed 3-1. Jeff Hoffman was an understandable choice in the sixth inning, even though he gave up a homer to Manny Machado, but that’s when you start questioning the bullpen usage.

Andrew Vasquez in the seventh?

Dylan Covey to come out for a third consecutive inning?

Yes, the offense was looking bad, and yes there was a feeling it just wasn’t going to be your night. And yes, there’s a double-header on Saturday. But, isn’t a three-run game within reach? And, with the exception of Josh Hader, their closer, is the Padres bullpen daunting? Even if you get behind a little further, don’t you have the kind of offense that at any point can make a game you are losing interesting?

Vasquez, who has been great for the Phillies this season in his multi-inning relief role, had a rough outing. And Covey – who had to get out of Vasquez’s inning and then had a scoreless eighth, was one out away from a fifth consecutive scoreless inning when he ran into Juan Soto:

When you consider that the Phillies scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth (one gifted by Soto, who must have caught the leftfield fielding jitters when catching a ride on the Phillies charter jet from the All-Star game), load the bases, had the tying run on deck and forced the Padres to have to use Hader on the day before a double-header in a game they had a seven-run lead going into the ninth inning, is it possible that things could have played out differently if guys like Gregory Soto or Matt Strahm or Yunior Marte weren’t getting a fifth day’s rest?

And while the bullpen deployment juggling act does sometimes confound, it’s burying the lede here to not address the lineup, yet again.

Because the Phillies can’t continue like this much longer.

This lineup was supposed to be one of the best in baseball – and it’s not. Trea Turner was supposed to be an MVP candidate, instead he’s turned into a 2010’s Phillies shortstop:

Bryce Harper has just 20 home runs since April…. 2022.

Kyle Schwarber is still chasing the Mendoza line.

Sure, J.T. Realmuto hit an opposite field homer in the ninth inning Friday, which was a small step forward, but it didn’t do enough to hide the two strikeout and the killer double play that prevented a bigger inning for the Phillies that preceded it.

Even Nick Castellanos left five runners on base Friday.

Castellanos, Bryson Stott, and Alec Bohm have basically carried the Phillies offense this season. There’s about 700 million reasons that shouldn’t be an accurate statement.

Letting the struggles slide for the first two months of the season was understandable. You could look past them in June and even the first two weeks of July because the team was rolling.

But now it’s another multi-game losing streak, mostly as a result of substandard hitting.

These players are good enough to still figure it out and turn it around and be impactful offensively in the last 75 days of the season, but the Phillies can no longer wait and hope.

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and GM Sam Fuld have to be proactive to change this. There’s no question they will be active at the trade deadline, but the Phillies might not be able to afford to wait two more weeks. This problem seems like it needs immediate attention a this point.

The Phillies need an impact bat. Hell, they could probably use two. And yes, it takes two to tango, so sometimes, as itchy as you are to pull a trigger on a trade to improve your team, you have to have a willing trade partner that is also on your time frame.

If there are teams out there willing to move players because they feel they can get more now rather than wait until August 1st, the Phillies need to be engaging them.

Because this season the championship is a wide-open race. Sure, the Braves are the class of the sport, and are a heavy favorite, but if there is a team that can play with them in the N.L., it’s the Phillies – because of their pitching. You’ve seen it in the six games the teams have played so far. And although Atlanta has won four of them, five of the six games could have gone either way.

As such, the Phillies shouldn’t be shy about moving some of their more intriguing prospects to get what they need to fuel up the jet packs for a trip through Red October again.

This is a championship window. You go get it now. And if your highly paid players start playing like they’re supposed to, then you become a juggernaut. And if not, and their individual disappointment continues, at least you will have done enough to keep the possibility of another magical run on the table.

But it needs to start now. If you have to wait until August 1st because of other teams, well than it is what it is, and you cross your fingers and hope.

The next two weeks are crucial. Don’t waste them on just expectations that continue to fail to be met.