Philadelphia Phillies Philes Vol 1.26: Moving on from current regime

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia Phillies season nears its unceremonious end, the organization has three people to blame: Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak & Gabe Kapler.

Leading off

Earlier this week, USA Today MLB insider Bob Nightengale weighed in on the futures of several managers.

Included in his roundup was Philadelphia Phillies skipper, Gabe Kapler, where he had this to say:

"“You can’t pay Bryce Harper $330 million, bring in four other former All-Stars, including catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura, finish in fourth place in the NL East, and not have someone pay the price.The only real question is whether Kapler takes the fall or his coaching staff?Phillies GM Matt Klentak wants to bring Kapler back, and is open to shuffling the staff.Then again, this may not necessarily be his call.Phillies owner John Middleton is the one who ordered Klentak to fire hitting coach John Mallee and bring back Charlie Manuel, and it’s quite possible he calls the shot this time, too.”"

The line that stuck out to me is: “Phillies GM Matt Klentak wants to bring Kapler back, and is open to shuffling the staff.”

Kapler has always been Matt Klentak’s guy. He handpicked him and is the only manager he’s ever chosen in his young career. To an extent, it’s understandable why he has loyalty towards Kapler – he’s a direct extension of Klentak.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. In fact, it’s not.

Baseball is a business and needs to be treated as such. Phillies owner John Middleton understands, as evidenced by his meddling in the coaching staff, orchestrating Charlie Manuel‘s return. The more Klentak associates with Kapler, the easier it is to cut ties with both. Add team president Andy MacPhail into the mix, as the trio has significantly underwhelmed in their time manning baseball operations, preaching launch angle swings, and not effectively evaluating roster talent.

In the same article, Nightengale expands on Cubs‘ manager Joe Maddon, who is likely on his way out in Chicago. Pay close attention to the comments made by Cubs’ president Theo Epstein:

"“And just in case there was any lingering doubt where Maddon stands, Cubs president Theo Epstein took to the airwaves last week on his radio show and threw shade at Maddon.“Honestly, we’ve been essentially a .500 team for months now …,’’ Epstein told 670 The Score, the Cubs’ flagship station. “If you go back 12, 13 months, it’s just been marked by underachievement and uninspired play.’’"

Interesting – “…marked by underachievement and uninspired play.’’

Who does that sound like?? And this coming from the Cubs president after his team is in the hunt for their fifth consecutive postseason appearance, including winning it all in 2016.

Do we hear Andy MacPhail making comments like this? How about Klentak? Kapler spoke a few weeks back about accountability and how he expects it from his players (despite another instance of a player lollygagging out of the box with no immediate punishment), but what does it mean when there’s no sense of it at the top?

It’s essential to utilize patience when building a contender, but there’s a difference between being patient and being stubborn. The Phillies brass have simply been stubborn as they continue preaching misguided analytics, trusting a system that clearly doesn’t work.

The article goes on to mention the Phillies as a possible landing spot for Maddon if he and the Cubs do indeed split. The Hazleton, Pennsylvania native would look great in red pinstripes, but either way, a change is necessary for the Phillies, and it starts at the top. The trio of MacPhail, Klentak, and Kapler are not working, and Middleton needs to take a stand.

Chopping down the best

Despite all the Phillies struggles, they managed a winning record against the best in their division. Following Thursday’s loss to the Braves, the Phils still took the season series, 10-9. Now if they could only beat the Marlins

And the struggle continues

With Thursday’s loss, the Phillies dropped their sixth consecutive game in which Aaron Nola started. The Phillies ace left much to be desired, going five innings while surrendering nine hits, two walks, and five earned runs en route to his sixth loss on the year. Despite the struggles, he still gives the team the best chance to win, though that soon will be meaningless as the Phillies await the final nail in their coffin.

Most Valuable Phillie Power Rankings – Top 15 (through 9/21/2019):

  1. J.T. Realmuto (C) – Previous Rank: 1 (↔)
  2. Bryce Harper (OF) – Previous Rank: 2 (↔)
  3. Aaron Nola (SP) – Previous Rank: 3 (↔)
  4. Hector Neris (RP) – Previous Rank: 4 (↔)
  5. Scott Kingery (OF/INF) – Previous Rank: 8 (↑ 3)
  6. Cesar Hernandez (2B) – Previous Rank: 5 (↓ 1)
  7. Rhys Hoskins (1B) – Previous Rank: 7 (↔)
  8. Jean Segura (SS) – Previous Rank: 6 (↓ 2)
  9. Andrew McCutchenPrevious Rank: N/A (↑)
  10. Jose Alvarez (RP) – Previous Rank: 13 (↑ 3)
  11. Zach Eflin (SP) – Previous Rank: 11 (↔)
  12. Ranger Suarez (RP) – Previous Rank: 12 (↔)
  13. Vince Velasquez (SP) – Previous Rank: N/A (↑)
  14. Jared Hughes (RP) – Previous Rank: N/A  (↑)
  15. Jake Arrieta (SP) – Previous Rank: N/A (↑)

“Ring the Bell” Award Winner of the Week

This week’s honor goes to the Braves and ballpark organist, Matthew Kaminski, for their creativity and lighthearted humor as opposing player’s step to the plate.

In case you missed it, Kaminski plays songs that somehow tie into the upcoming batter. Whether playing the theme for “The Brady Bunch” for Scott Kingery and his close resemblance to the show’s ‘Peter Brady’ character, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” for Jean Segura, or the “Super Mario Bros.” theme for Rhys Hoskins and his recently grown mustache, Kaminski keeps it fresh! He does this for all batters and continuously mixes it up. (Following Cesar Hernandez’s two throwing errors in the first and second innings of Wednesday’s win, Kaminski broke out “Wild Thing” by The Troggs when Cesar next stepped to the plate!)

From an outside perspective, the Braves do an excellent job creating a fan-friendly experience at their new ballpark. This includes their new mascot “Blooper” and their “Beat the Freeze” challenge in which a fan races a former track star – The Freeze – on the outfield warning track in between innings. (In the race, the fan is given a 200-foot head start, and The Freeze still wins pretty much every time.)

They also turn out the lights for opponent pitching changes as fans greet the reliever with an eerie, cellphone-lit “chop,” which is pretty cool.

Unfortunately, nobody in Atlanta seems to care about their organization’s forward-thinking approach or that they have one of the best, young teams in all of baseball as the ballpark remains ambiguously vacant.

Guess the Phillies and their fans beat them in that department, too.

Phillie Pholly of the Week

Every time Phillies pitching coach Chris Young makes his way to the mound for a visit; he cups his mouth with his fingers when talking so no one is privy to the ultra-sensitive information he’s sharing. Many pitching coaches do this, but for Chris Young, why is this necessary? Are opposing teams in that desperate need of intel on Phillies’ pitchers? After all, it’s not like they’ve been light’s out. Teams have been hitting Phillies pitching hard pretty much all year.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ former pitching coach whom Young replaced seems to be doing pretty well down in Atlanta. Rick Kranitz and the Braves boast the NL’s fifth-best team ERA (4.22), while Chris Young and the Phillies rank tenth (4.54), down from last year’s 4.14. Additionally, the Braves win total has already surpassed their total from a year ago.

As mentioned at the top, the trio of MacPhail, Klentak, and Kapler have failed this organization. Their decision to replace Kranitz further illustrates the continued mess they’ve created. That, and poor roster construction – in particular with pitching and depth – earn them this week’s woeful declaration.

Phillies Phlashback

More from Philadelphia Phillies

The date was Tuesday, September 28, 1993. The Phillies were visiting Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh to take on the pesky Pirates. In need of a win to clinch their first division title in 10 years, Mike Williams took the mound for his fourth start of the year.

John Kruk got the scoring started in the top of the third with a double to right, scoring Williams who had singled. The Pirates would answer in their half, tying the game, 1-1.

The team’s catalyst and MVP runner-up Lenny Dykstra delivered in the fifth, connecting on a two-run liner to right that would plate Milt Thompson and Kevin Stocker. However, the Pirates once again fought back, eventually taking a 4-3 lead.

All that changed in the top of the seventh. Darren Daulton and Jim Eisenreich opened the frame with singles and “Dutch” would come in to score on a single from Stocker. With the bases loaded, Dykstra added to his NL-leading total in walks, bringing home Eisenreich on the play. The crushing blow came one batter later.

With the bases still loaded, Mariano Duncan stepped to the plate and did this (video).

The Phillies never looked back, as this “wacky, wonderful bunch of throwbacks” (to quote Harry Kalas), won the National League pennant! The final score for the game was Phillies 10, Pirates 7.

While we know what happened eventually, that year remains one of the most exciting in Philadelphia sports history!

Next. Phillies would be better off sticking with Gabe Kapler instead of hoping for Joe Maddon. dark

On Deck

The Philadelphia Phillies visit the Nationals for a five-game series beginning Monday, which includes a day/night doubleheader Tuesday. The team then head’s home to close out the regular season with a weekend set against the lowly Marlins, whom the Phillies have struggled mightily against (7-9).