After a 4-game of the New York Mets at home towards the end of the month of June, it seemed like the Phillies had put their struggles behind them with a chance to carry some momentum into July. Then they lost two of three to the Miami Marlins. After losing a series to the Braves, the Phillies won the series against the Mets to at least save face before the All-Star break.
Just like Charlie Manuel before him, let's just say Gabe Kapler has not received red-carpet treatment from the Philadelphia fans to begin his Phillies managerial career. Following a horrendous collapse to the 2018 season and an underwhelming 2019 campaign, fans have still not warmed up to the chiseled Phillies skipper.
Some of his comments have been puzzling, some of his moves have been questionable. An apparent lack of energy from his ball club and maddening inconsistency at times falls on his shoulders. But it's difficult to look at the results and say that he is not doing his job.
The Phillies were outscored by 51 runs in 2018 and finished with an 80-82 record. They should have finished ten games below .500 based on that run differential, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
They have been outscored by 28 runs in 2019. They should be six games under .500. Instead, they are 5 games above.
Add it up, and Gabe Kapler's Phillies teams have been outscored by 79 runs - 79! - in his first two seasons. They should be a whopping 16 games under .500 (131-147), yet the Phillies have a winning ballclub (140-138).
Naysayers will contend that players underperform under Kapler and his positive message rings hollow in his clubhouse.
That may be true, but here is another possible truth: Kapler is taking the heat so his players don't have to.
Think about it for a moment. $330 million man Bryce Harper has not met expectations this season, so where are the boos? Same for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. And Maikel Franco. Maybe that's part of the reason why Bob Nightengale wrote that Gabe "remains beloved by the front office."
Kapler inherited a starting rotation that has produced one legitimate pitcher this season in Aaron Nola. The starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.51 that ranks 11th in the National League. Nearly all of his best relievers have been hurt, and then hurt again. The Phillies 4.71 bullpen ERA ranks 12th.The end result is a 4.61 team ERA that ranks above only three teams in the National League. The Phillies offense ranks 9th in the league in runs.
12th in the league in team ERA and 9th in the league in runs scored, and they are a half game back of the second wild card spot? The math doesn't add up. Maybe some of that credit belongs to the manager.comments powered by Disqus