There’s a tweet that I read this morning. Kevin mentioned it in his Eagles story. And here’s the thing–I know better, right? I know I shouldn’t take the bait on this tweet, but I can’t help myself. I can’t help myself because I know this tweet doesn’t represent the misguided views of just one man, it represents the views of many. Here is the tweet in all of its dumbassery:
I am embarrassed to be a Philadelphia sports fan today. Mets 24, Phillies 4. Patriots 37, Eagles 20. Gabe Kapler made a mockery of baseball by using by Quinn and Kingery as pitchers. Pederson did not have his team ready to play. Disgraceful.
— Angelo Cataldi (@AngeloCataldi) August 17, 2018
The Phillies put on an embarrassing display in the first game of yesterday’s double-header against the Mets. It was a terrible brand of baseball and a concerning effort by a team that is in the thick of a playoff hunt. Their play was sloppy, lethargic, and miserable to watch. It was most certainly not playoff quality baseball. Perhaps you could even call what happened through the game’s first five innings, to borrow a term from Cataldi, “a mockery of baseball.” I subjected myself to the misery once more by cutting up this “highlight” package of yesterday’s bonerfest, so that you can come up with your own descriptions of what transpired over the course of a game in which the Mets scored 10 unearned runs. It will be like Mad Libs:
Forget Kapler using position players, the focus should be on what led up to that point. pic.twitter.com/tnL4d5wc9L
— BWanksCB (@BWCrossingBroad) August 17, 2018
A mockery, an embarrassment, a ________. What say you?
But the gripe of Cataldi, and the many I heard on the radio and read online throughout much of today, isn’t with the shit show that was Ranger Suarez and the Phillies’ deficient defense, it is with Gabe Kapler. Because of course it is. Why? Because he took a good old fashioned ass beating and turned it into a historic loss by handing the ball to Roman Quinn and then to Scott Kingery.
It did not go well:
Phillies SS Scott Kingery throwing GAS from the mound pic.twitter.com/TexehspT4N
— Charm City Wire (@charmcitywire) August 17, 2018
Seemingly a surprise to many, the margin of the defeat did not have an impact on the standings. A 1, 10, or 20-run loss is all the same. What did have an impact on the standings was the team’s ability to win the night-cap and close to within 1.5 games of the Braves while also maintaining their lead in the hotly contested National League wild card race. That happened, in part, because they were able to adequately protect their lead after Zach Eflin departed in the seventh inning. There is Kapler to thank for that.
And, by the way, have a look at the paragraph above. The Phillies have a legitimate chance to win the division. Win the division. If the season ended today, they would be in the postseason. How many people back in March thought that would be this team’s reality on the afternoon of August 17? Anybody?
The Phillies allowed 30 runs, 34 hits, and 12 walks to Mets hitters in two games. They also committed five errors. Gabe Kapler, despite this team’s obvious limitations and deficiencies, has helped return the Phillies to relevance. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. I thought it was both delusional and tone deaf how Kapler discussed the Zach Eflin demotion. But you also can’t argue with the overall job he’s done to this point. The people who are so offended by his tactics yesterday will be the first to tell you that it should be all about winning. That a manager must do everything possible to win. I would argue that’s exactly what Kapler did. After all, maneuvering to win one game is better than foolishly trying to instill some archaic “never say die” rah-rah bullshit and losing both.
It might be time to find something else to complain about.