If Gabe Kapler and the Phillies lose one more game, it will be hard to call this current skid anything other than absolute free-fall. Eight strong innings from Aaron Nola wasn’t even enough to beat the Marlins as Phillies bats once again fell silent. The team has lost five in a row, 9 of their last 11 and currently have one of the bottom five offenses in the National League.
As much as pitching has been as issue for the Phillies, the bats are what have really killed them. It was assumed that this lineup would be absolutely clubbing the ball and we have hardly seen any of that. Have there been injuries? Absolutely. Andrew McCutchen was having a phenomenal year and had settled in as a de-facto leader. The loss of he and Odubel robbed the team of two lead-off options that they have yet to recover from.
As a result of this absolutely abysmal stretch, calls for Gabe Kapler’s firing are growing louder. It wasn’t even an issue last week but is now being talked about more and more.
This is a question that is dividing the fan base quite a bit right now. Should Gabe Kapler be on the hot seat? His supporters argue that Matt Klentak is responsible for not building a talented enough roster. There is plenty of truth to this, especially in regards to the rotation. The Phillies also lack depth in AAA. It makes no sense not to have a couple experienced MLB relievers stashed away in Lehigh Valley. I get that the Phillies have had an absurd amount of injuries, but good teams like the Yankees can tough it out.
This team lacked depth and it has cost them.
Ultimately though, I do believe that there is enough talent on this roster. The rotation is up in the air, the bullpen may suck, but there is simply no excuse for how pathetic this team has looked on offense. Every day that goes by this team seems more and more like the 2018 Phillies, only with less punch. It makes no sense!
Is it Kapler’s fault that Harper has been under-performing? No. Is it Kapler’s fault that McCutchen got injured? Again the answer is no, but I think it is fair to question how motivated this team is under Kapler.
The Phillies collapsed last August/September and I mean collapsed. They were absolutely lifeless when it mattered the most. Was that team undermanned? Of course, but the collapse was truly something remarkable and it happened after acquisitions were made.
It’s now June of 2019 and here we are again. Just as the Phillies enter their most crucial stretch of the year, they fall flat on their faces and can’t score runs to save their lives. They’re playing with no sense of urgency yet Gabe Kapler refuses to make any adjustments to his approach.
Gabe Kapler Could Be Solid MLB Manager, But Is He The Right Fit For This Team?
On one hand, Kapler deserves respect for sticking to his guns no matter what. The media may be coming at him with “get off my lawn” tier arguments about Segura running to first but Kapler has shown no intention of backing down. He believes in his philosophy and won’t be deterred. That’s what a leader does and he deserves respect.
However, I’m really starting to question if Gabe’s philosophy is right for this town. Philadelphia is a tough place to play and the respect of the fans must be earned. When they get pissed, they really get pissed.
Right now, the city of Philadelphia is looking at the Phillies with absolute disgust. This is a gritty sports town that adores scrappy underdog teams with fight in them. This team needs a spark, a “kick in the ass” if you will, and I really don’t see Gabe Kapler doing it. Whenever he has an opportunity to light a fire under the club, he never seems to take it.
Again, it’s fine that Gabe Kapler has his approach, but good MLB managers need to make adjustments. Positive reinforcement might be his prerogative but there are times when something else must be done. Sometimes you’ve gotta deviate from your game-plan and adjust to what is around you. This is true of anything in life, not just baseball. So far I’ve yet to see those adjustments, and that’s discouraging.
Plus it’s hard to buy Kapler’s “I have complete confidence” routine when he’s fiddling with the lineup every night. Baseball is a streaky game and it’s tough to get a rhythm going when Bryce Harper is batting lead-off. I know I was just harping about the lack of adjustments, but jeez, Gabe Kapler just comes across as trying to outsmart himself at times.
It is entirely possible that the Phillies could get it going tonight and go on a ten game winning streak. Stranger things have happened and it’s only June, but if this doesn’t end soon, the Phillies will be ten games out by July. Another week of playing exceptionally bad and this will be a collapse of enormous magnitude.
If the wheels truly have come off the bus for the Phillies, Gabe Kapler really should be fired. This team has the talent, they aren’t far out and the Atlanta Braves aren’t unstoppable. Sometimes all that’s needed is to simplify things. If Gabe Kapler can’t rally this team, he should be fired.