Maybe the power of positive thinking will make it happen.

With the way things have gone so far, Charlie Manuel is willing to try.

In what turned out to be another Phillies loss — this time 2-0 to the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park — and another game in which Cole Hamels was lacking run support, Ryan Howard didn't homer. Again.

"He'll get it," Manuel said. "It's coming."

The lack of power is a trend that can't continue. In the last 12 games, seven of which were losses, the Phillies scored three runs or fewer 10 times and have been shut out three times since April 16.

Howard, who has more home runs over the last eight seasons than any other major league player (277), has only one in 73 at-bats (19 games). His RBIs are problematic too. He has only six.

"Contrary to what people think, I feel like I've hit the ball well," Howard said. "I've hit the ball hard."

He has. He's just not hitting it out of the ballpark, and the Phillies need him to. History will tell you that.

In games Howard homered from 2008 to 2011, the Phillies went 73-27. Think they need some of his hits to leave the yard?

"Until somebody comes along and wants to jump in there and hit about 30 or 40 ... yeah, Ryan is the guy that we depend on for power," Manuel said.

Yes, April is hardly Howard's best month. But in the first 19 games he played in each April from 2008-11, he had more power than he does now. Through 19 games in 2008, he hit 4 home runs and drove in 9 runs; in 2009, it was 4 HRs/15 RBIs; in 2010 it was 3 HRs/16 RBIs and in 2011, it was 3 HRs/17 RBIs.

"It comes and goes," Manuel said. "[Josh] Hamilton (two home runs, eight RBIs) is having a hard time, isn't he? [Albert] Pujols (2 home runs, 11 RBIs) is having a hard time. There are a lot of guys having a hard time this time of year. He'll catch up."