Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak Share the Blame For Fight-less Phils

Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak Share the Blame For Fight-less Phils

It didn’t have to get this bad.

On June 3, when Phillies shortstop Jean Segura didn’t run out a pop-up to second base, ultimately forcing center fielder Andrew McCutchen into a rundown that ended with McCutchen tearing an anterior cruciate ligament, that was the moment. The moment when manager Gabe Kapler, general manager Matt Klentak, or both, needed to establish clearly that any insufficient or unprofessional effort by any player on the team would not only not be tolerated – it would be punished.

The Phillies won four straight after McCutchen was lost for the season. In a related story, if you drop a dead cat from enough height, it will bounce. That doesn’t make it less dead. Since beating the Cincinnati Reds on June 8, the Phillies are 2-10 and have lost six straight. There are some circumstances beyond anyone’s control at work here. The bullpen has been decimated by injury. The Phillies are trying to hold occasional leads or stay in games with either young relievers who are in the major leagues too soon or veteran pitchers who may not belong in the bigs anymore.

The bullpen’s struggles have been magnified by the fact that Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are both lugging around earned run averages over four. They’re still the staff aces, but that’s only because Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Pivetta are both giving up over five and a half runs per nine innings. You can’t blame Kapler for any of that. Not Klentak, either. The starting pitchers aren’t kids anymore.

Arrieta came here as an established talent. Nola is 26. So is Pivetta. Eickhoff will be 29 in a little more than a week. The manager and the top brass had every right to expect all four of these pitchers to be better than they have been. With those caveats, the apology tour for Kapler and Klentak ends. After Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins, it is obvious that neither the manager nor his boss has any real authority over the players in the field.

Here was Segura’s response after the June 3 play that ended McCutchen’s season and, let’s be frank, cast some doubt on what a 33-year-old centerfielder will be able to do coming off this injury in 2020: “I don’t have any excuse. I slipped at home plate. I have to get up and run the bases. I need to do a better job.”

Segura’s resolve to be a better teammate lasted all of two weeks.

He led off the night game on June 19 with a bloop to the outfield that he didn’t think would fall. It did, and because he didn’t run hard out of the batter’s box, he was on first base and not second when the play ended.

The rest of the inning went like this: Fly ball to left field corner (would have taken third base), soft grounder to first (would have scored), strikeout. Segura ended the inning on third base.Here was Segura’s response this time around: “I don’t have an excuse. That can’t happen.”​

Segura wasn’t benched, fined or suspended after either of these incidents. He was written into the next game’s lineup straightaway both times. Kapler, and by extension Klentak, have to wear that. Especially since the sloth is spreading.

On Saturday, with the Phillies down 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, second baseman Cesar Hernandez strolled out of the batter’s box when he thought his lazy fly ball to left field would be caught. But Curtis Granderson, whose range at 38 years of age isn’t what it used to be, couldn’t get to it. Hernandez ended up with a leadoff single and not a leadoff double.  Here’s the play in question:

The next batter, Bryce Harper, rolled into a double play.

Kapler is talking a pretty big game about discipline now. “Those things are definitely things that need to be addressed. They have to be addressed swiftly. They have to be addressed with authority, and they will be.”

The time for swift, authoritative action was three weeks ago. When Kapler gave Segura a pass for the June 3 play, the prevailing rationale was that accidents will happen and that benching one of the team’s remaining offensive threats with McCutchen out, just to prove a point, would be a case of the medicine being worse than the disease. That turned out to be the ultimate example of short-term thinking. Because now, what is Kapler really going to do with Hernandez? Bench him? How could Kapler do that after ignoring Segura’s laziness twice before in this same month? To say nothing of the fact that it would look like Kapler is catering to a star while punishing a lesser talent.

Again, there are many things the Phillies cannot control. Injuries, ineffectiveness and hitting slumps are part of baseball. They come and go. But giving legitimate, professional effort to play the game to the best of one’s ability is entirely within every player’s control, every day. And if Kapler can’t make these players try their best, then Klentak has to get rid of them.


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42 Responses

    1. Philly,

      How do you personally feel about working for a company that hired some one
      who was fired from their previous job for using the company twitter account to demean
      mexicans and call them racist names?

      Do you think said racist should be fired from Crossing Broad?
      or are you the type not to answer and allow people to assume that you are okay with it?

      Are you really okay with a racist working at Crossingbroad with you?

      UHKRT – United Haters of Known Racist Tweets

          1. Wake me up when Philly fans start ripping bryce Harper for being the overrated piece of crap that us national people really believe he truly is says:

            Just saying

  1. Fire them both. The manager is incompetent, he is not respected in the locker room. The GM looks like a kid who should be working at McDonald’s. From his first radio interview he seemed over his head and has done nothing to change that perception.

  2. Yeah let’s go back to the glory days of Pete MacKanin and Ruin Tomorrow Sooner. Analytics aren’t scary, they’re just another tool that teams use to have more complete information. I can almost forgive dumb casual fans for wanting these guys fired, but it’s shameful for an intelligent site like CB.

  3. Michael Jack Schmidt. He sucks the life out of the team every Sunday home game with his insipidly stupid and boring commentary.

  4. Analytics are great tools but that doesn’t belie the fact that Kapler is not a very good manager. And just because you come from that background doesn’t automatically make you a good GM.

  5. Andy Macphail continues his lifelong tradition of building bad baseball teams. Bad hire 5 years ago and here we are today. On the flipside the Phils went from losing $40 M a year to making $90 M a year so I guess he did his job for ownership.

  6. But Mike ‘I’m down with the bruthaz’ Missanelli told me this was a World Series team. Do you mean to tell me that the coolest, hippest, most progressive guy in Philly, the Man of the People, was wrong?

      1. I thought you were onto something but Caesar was spotted wearing a Sixers t-shirt the other night. The only thing that seems to gets ol smallfoot happier than that is the Union and editing users comments.

  7. ceaser ran fast this is bs he thought it was foul for two seconds unlike the smelly segurnai who stinks in more ways then one! shower anyone!

  8. you dont get rid of the players u bozo! u get rid of the bozo leaders! if everyone on the team cant hit and everyone on the team cant pitch then either cut every player on the team or get some ppl in there that the players will respect and play for! Coffee for all!

  9. Don’t blame Gabe!

    It is not his fault that every single player that plays for him get worse. How can you blame the manager for that?

    I mean, have you seen their launch angels and exit velocities! And all of the 3-ball counts they work!
    And batting the pitcher 8th! Stroke of genius!

    And of course they can’t bench Segura. He is batting .202 for the past month! You can just find a middle infielder to do that!

    1. Hey genius, when the team’s not batting, maybe it’s the fault of the batting coach?

  10. How does benching Segura make this team any better? And what lesson does it teach him when he gets paid for an off day? The truth is that teams have very little leverage against players once they’re signed to a contract. All of the money is guaranteed, and if you try to impose a fine that actually stings, the players association gets involved. There is no way to effectively punish a player for not playing hard.

    1. What has Segura done to guarantee a spot in the lineup?

      Segura and Hernandez retain their spots in the lineup no matter how poorly they play. The continued lazy play by the two of them show that they don’t respect Kapler.

      Gabe is like the teacher who spends September and October trying to be everybody’s friend. And then in January, he can’t figure out why he can’t get the kids to sit quietly.

      1. Both Segura and Hernandez are playing better than guys like Franco, Realmuto, the entire bench, and — by some metrics — the $330M man in right field.

        1. Over the past 30 games, Segura is hitting .202 with a .623 OPS. Hernandez is batting .228 over the same span.

          1. And yet they’re both still at over .270 for the year. If you’re going to bench them for a slump, who are you going to replace them with? Sean Rodriguez? Phil Gosselin?

  11. Franco is more deserving of being benched. We’re not even getting Abe Nunez levels of production out of him, LOL!

  12. Hey Middleton, time to fire McPhailure, Klentak and Mr Sulu.
    Get some real fucking baseball people and stop bullshitting us !

    1. Yeah! Let’s go back to the good ol days of Ryne Sandberg as manager and Rube as GM. That’ll show these NERDS!

  13. Love that Cuz commercial for the pest control company. He talks about the evils of bedbugs with the same passion that he talks about his love for Reggie, BDawk and Spags.

      1. If fat boy Cuz can’t beat the WYSP 10am-2pm team he doesn’t deserve rating.
        Maybe is Kinker starts hating on italians and tweets Cuz some racial names
        it will get better ratings.

  14. when is Odubel Herrera coming back? season started to go down hill after he showed his wh-ite girlfriend who is in charge in the relationship.

  15. The team really isn’t that good. The whole team is in a huge slump right now which is really magnifying their shortcomings. Harper is a bit overrated due to the amount of fanfare and hype he receives around the league on a national level, but he’s certainly capable of hitting better than he has been. All this emphasis on “launch angle” has caused him to drop his back shoulder and open his front side which is why he’s whiffing on so many fastballs, especially up and away. The balls the MLB are using nowadays are so fucking juiced if he just stayed short to the ball he would easily have 20 dingers by now. Edwin Encarnacion is a great example of what i’m talking about, i’m sure Wanks knows. The rest of the lineup is just so sub-par. I was no fan of the hiring of Kapler, but he doesn’t have a whole lot to work with as far as talent. This team is Klentak’s fault due to the lack of young superstar talent. They could have something in Bohm and Spencer Howard but we won’t see them this year. If anything this team is about where they should be. I thought they over-achieved last year and the goal this year should be to win the division but i don’t expect them to beat out Atlanta.

  16. They got the draw with me. Season. Was over when Cuch went down.

    I ll still run myself (which I’m “hustling”) into easy easy plays for the oppositions D as I try to stretch plays. But I’m a philly guy and hustling.

  17. This team clearly needed an upgrade at 3B, and Mike Moustakas was sitting there waiting to be signed all of free agency and had to settle for a one year/ $10M deal with the Brewers. He currently has a .948 OPS and 22 HR. The team clearly needed a starting pitcher and a reliever and we let both Kuechel and Kimbrel sign with other NL playoff teams. Klentack is sitting there with his dick in his hand doing nothing to help this abysmal pitching staff.

  18. I wonder if Kyle’s wife will ever know what an orgasm feels like… maybe she needs a real man, like Mr T!!!

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