After a rough 3-7 road trip that wrapped up with a sloppy 4-3 loss yesterday afternoon at Wrigley Field, Phillies’ manager Gabe Kapler joined 94 WIP’s morning show with Angelo Cataldi to discuss his team’s recent struggles.
Cataldi first asked Kapler about his questionable ninth inning decision to remove Seranthony Dominguez in favor of lefty Adam Morgan in Wednesday night’s crushing 7-5 walk-off loss. Kapler explained that he was trying to protect the rookie phenom, while also tabbing Morgan for what he felt was an “ideal” matchup against Jason Heyward:
“He’s a human being, and Seranthony is going to have rougher innings from time to time, so when he does, it’s our job to protect both him and the Phillies. For the first time this season, Seranthony lost his control. He walked a batter on four pitches. Subsequently, he ended up giving up that crisp line drive single. So my job, Angelo, is to identify when the right time is to protect a very young, very inexperienced reliever. Adam Morgan is very good as well, and I’m going to continue to believe in and trust our players like Mo. We don’t just trust one of them to record huge outs.”
Cataldi righty pressed Kapler about needlessly using Dominguez with a comfortable late-inning lead the night before. Kapler defended the decision:
“We’re going to be assertive to lock down a win. That’s our responsibility… There was no shortage on stuff, so we felt like that was the right decision.”
When asked why he hasn’t designated Dominguez as his closer to avoid situations like the one that played out Wednesday night, Kapler repeated his usual explanation regarding matchups:
“We don’t have an issue identifying when to use Seranthony and to that end we don’t have an issue identifying when to use any of our relievers. I’ve been consistent since spring training in sharing that we’re going to use our relievers in the situations that the are best suited for every single night.”
That, of course, is ridiculous, because Adam Morgan appeared overmatched in the ninth, but Kapler cited Heyward’s multi-year lack of success against left-handed pitching in explaining the decision.
The two also discussed Carlos Santana’s lack of hustle out of the box on a fly ball hit during Sunday’s loss in San Francisco:
“Carlos plays hard. He prepares hard. And has been one of our more consistent performers at the plate…He believed the ball would be foul when he hit it because of the way the flags were blowing. We discussed the fact that even when you think the ball is going to be foul it’s still critical to run just in case the ball falls in foul territory like it did. Carlos understands that.”
He thought it would be foul. You don’t say? I’m not sure that a 32-year-old should have to be told that it’s “critical to run just in case the ball falls in foul territory,” but Kapler assured Cataldi it won’t happen again, so don’t even sweat it…
On Jake Arrieta’s public criticisms:
“[They] served as an inspiration in my opinion to dive deeply into our practices, to analyze those practices, and adjust those practices. Interestingly, we have actually been working diligently on this specific issue for about five weeks now and we have made some major changes.”
We’ll see if those major changes change the Phillies’ recent fortunes when they open up a three-game set at home tonight against the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers.
You can listen to the full interview here:
Kinkead: My opinion – when Angelo turns off the goofy radio persona, he really is an excellent 1v1 interviewer