By Julie Glass

It is marginally ironic that the Phillies began their slide to oblivion just days after manager Pete Mackanin’s contract was recently extended.

But the guarantee is still only through next year.

Did someone mention Larry Bowa and his tough love?

“The Phillies look and sound dead,” one rival says. The team was 6-22 in May.

Expectations were too high (they were hoping for .500, or at least improvement) in the first place.

The belief also is that that is a commitment Phillies higher-ups will honor, with the real question being whether he’s a caretaker during the rebuilding years or gets to stay after 2018, when they should take a major step forward.