Gabe Kapler

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It's time we give some credit to Gabe Kapler

Andrew Porter
August 16, 2019 - 10:52 am

Andrew McCutchen, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Victor Arano, Seranthony Dominguez, David Robertson, Jay Bruce, Adam Morgan, Jake Arrieta, Jerad Eickhoff, and Edubray Ramos. 

That's the list of injured Phillies players in 2019—most of them missing the majority of the season. 

On top of that, the Phillies' leading hitter through 121 games is Cesar Hernandez (.283). Only two Phillies, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, have hit at least 20 home runs. Maikel Franco was sent down to the minor leagues. Odubel Herrera was suspended after playing in just 39 games for violating MLB's Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. 

Related: Klentak hires Manuel hoping for spark: 'We are not buried'

Aaron Nola, who struggled early, has found his groove and is now 11-3 with a respectable 3.56 ERA. But no other Phillies' starter has a sub-4.00 ERA. None. For context, the Mets have two starters with a sub-4.00 ERA, the Braves have three, and the Nats have four. 

Oh, and the hitting coach is now Charlie freakin' Manuel, of all people! 

And still, the Phillies are 63-58, five games above .500, and just one game out of the NL's second wild card spot. 

You would think the manager deserves some credit for keeping the team together, right? 

Gabe Kapler has made controversial decisions throughout the entire 2019 seasons—some good, some bad—but there's no denying he's dealt with an extraordinary amount of challenges. Now, entering August, it seems like the Phillies are hitting their stride. 

Realmuto is hitting .324/.422/.622 over the last two weeks (10 starts) with two homers, five doubles, and eight RBIs. Harper is hitting .295/.415/.773 over the last two weeks (12 starts) with seven homers and 15 RBIs, including last night's dramatic walkoff grand salami to sweep the Cubs.

And just when you were "done with the Phillies" for the final time this season, they brought you back again. I see a team that still believes in itself. 

When asked by Angelo Cataldi this week about potentially being fired if the Phillies miss the postseason (that's where we were just a few days ago), Kapler had the perfect answer. 

"I guess I'd say this, I'm not going to manage scared," Kapler said on 94WIP. "I didn't play scared. I fought and gave everything I had every single day. You're going to manage in the same way. So, if I get fired I do and it'll be a hard day for me to deal with, but I'm not going to waste a single ounce of my mental or emotional energy thinking about myself when I could be thinking about how I could help us win tonight's game. The players, those 25 men battling out there, those are the ones that matter."

The Phillies now finish the season with series' against the Padres, Red Sox, Marlins, Pirates, Mets, Reds, Mets again, Braves, Red Sox again, Braves again, Nationals, and Marlins again. Of that group, only Washington and Atlanta has a higher winning percentage than the Phillies.

The playoffs are certainly a realistic possibility. 

So by all means, you can give the credit to Manuel if you want. That's certainly a fun story. But the truth is, the manager has done a pretty decent job.