Rob Thomson is never going to call out an individual player on the Phillies for poor performance. It’s why the players like him so much.

He’s transparent and honest with them privately, but when he gets out in front of the television cameras, or does radio interviews, or meets with the writers, he’s not going to say anything disparaging.

Nor should he.

The folks who want Thomson to have some sort of visible anger with his team for their woeful performance so far this season aren’t going to get it, nor is it warranted.

What good would it do? Would it make fans feel better? Make them go, “See, he’s just like us?” Great, and how does that help the team, exactly?

Look, if it’s your personality, if it’s your way of doing things, then fine. Players expect it. We have a couple coaches in Philadelphia now who do employ this more direct approach with some public-shaming, in the right context, of their players. John Tortorella has made a lengthy career of it in hockey. New Sixers coach Nick Nurse has done the same in a shorter period of time as a bench boss.

But this isn’t who Thomson is as a person or as a manager. He’s a little more kid gloves. You could argue whether that’s a good approach or not in sports until you are blue in the face, but to suddenly ask a guy who is like that to suddenly peel paint off walls publicly doesn’t make sense.

That’s not a justification for the Phillies poor play, or the explanations for it. Those things are equally frustrating for the public to hear. Sometimes the public message can become grating, especially when it’s repetitive and the team isn’t winning.

To assume a manager isn’t doing his job of holding players accountable because he’s not public about it is a flawed concept.

Now, you could be right. Maybe he is fiddling while Rome burns. But without being present for every meeting or every conversation, we have no idea if that’s true or not.

What we do know is that the product we are seeing on the field is unacceptable. And that, friends, should land squarely on the players.

Take Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Mets as an example. The Phillies finally get a start from Ranger Suarez that looks like the Ranger we’ve come to know in the past couple seasons, and the lineup flat out pisses it away.

Their approach against Mets starter Kodai Senga was bad to begin, and only got worse as the game went along and they failed to adjust to what he was throwing. That’s not on the manager. That’s not on hitting coach Kevin Long. That’s not on President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. That’s on the players at the plate.

Senga features his “Ghost forkball.” A pitch with late tumbling action that looks like a strike but then drops off the table. It’s his most effective pitch, but it rarely ends up in the zone. Of the 30 forkballs he threw, only nine were actually in the strike zone. In fact, of the 100 pitches he threw on the night, only 41 were in the zone.

Yet he had nine strikeouts, no walks, and allowed just one hit.

How is that possible?

Because of the 58 pitches the Phillies swung at, 22 of them were misses out of the strike zone, with 12 of the 22 coming on the forkball.

Senga had been a walks machine prior to this start for the Phillies. He had walked at least three batters in eight of his nine starts prior to Tuesday. And in five of those starts, he had walked four or more.

He didn’t walk any Phillies.

And it’s not because suddenly he was throwing more strikes. Again, only 41 percent of his pitches were in the strike zone.

No, the Phillies chased and just kept chasing:

https://twitter.com/phillysportsszn/status/1663943149453037570

It’s not like Senga was facing some discerning offenses this year. He’s faced the Marlins twice, the A’s, the Giants, the Nats, the Rockies, the Reds, the Rays, and the Cubs before the Phillies.

With the exception of the Rays, that’s a lot of mediocre at best, awful at worst and the rest in between.

Yet the A’s, the freaking worst team in at least 60 years, and maybe ever, found a way to work four walks against him in 4 2/3 innings. Even they were able to adjust to what Senga was throwing.

The Phillies couldn’t.

I know hitting isn’t easy. The guy did throw six different pitches to Phillies batters, most of them with a lot of movement – so, adjusting is always easier said than done. But, this is the major leagues. Spiting on those forkballs and forcing him to get them up higher in the strike zone could have resulted in better pitches to hit.

And yet, it didn’t happen. Senga could keep throwing further and further down because the Phillies were more and more willing to take the bait as the game went on.

That’s what’s befuddling – because these players should be better than this. Are you going to chase pitches sometimes? Yes. But flailing and missing on 22 pitches out of the strike zone? It’s not a single player problem or a coaching problem – it’s an epidemic among the hitters.

The baseball IQ seems to suddenly have been zapped from the Phillies.

Consider J.T. Realmuto working a four-pitch walk to lead off the eighth inning when the team trails by two runs and has all of one hit to that point in the contest. He had just seen reliever Adam Ottavino struggle to find the plate.

So why would he even consider trying to steal second base?

The lone benefit is to stay out of the double play, but does outweigh all the other issues that are working against a team in the moment? Not at all. One-run game? Maybe. One or two outs? OK. Pitcher is throwing strikes and you just happened to grind out a walk? Fine. The team has had runners on base all night but just hasn’t capitalized yet? Sure.

But none of those things were true. It’s why it shouldn’t have happened, and yet it did.

Thomson said Realmuto, like several Phillies runners, has a green light to steal bags – especially against a notoriously slow delivery guy like Ottavino. Still, you have to know the moment. You have to understand it. And just because the pitcher has a slower delivery doesn’t mean that’s the time to test it. But he did, and ran his team out of an inning.

It’s a malaise that lingers around this team right now. It’s dumb baseball. If I can see it and you can see it, then they absolutely see it too.

But what’s being done about it?

That’s the big question and the one that’s not being concentrated on enough – are these players holding themselves accountable – really accountable?

Again, they say the right things publicly. Trea Turner has said he’s “sucked” and that even his mom is booing him. Kyle Schwarber has hinted that he’s wanted it to be June for a while now. Bryce Harper twice talked about the need for urgency during the last Phillies homestand.

Those are all good things – but words do not trump actions.

You can’t just believe your fortunes will get better. You have to make them better. You have to control what you can control – and that’s the way you approach every game, every at bat, every pitch.

Right now, there’s not one guy in the lineup doing that.

The pitching has been coming around (except for the No. 5 starter, but really, is there a team in baseball that’s getting much of anything from the ass-end of their rotation? Even Atlanta’s No. 5 starters are 4-9 with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP), the bullpen is an overall strength.

But this lineup, man this lineup, is leaving a lot to be desired.

Turner. Schwarber. Realmuto – they’re the three main culprits, but they aren’t alone. Alec Bohm has been inconsistent. Brandon Marsh is a far cry from his torrid start at the beginning of the season. Even Nick Castellanos, who is still putting up solid numbers, has had a few too many plate appearances that look like they were from 2022 and not this season.

Then there’s Bryce Harper, who didn’t pay at all Tuesday. In fact, he wasn’t even called on to pinch it in the ninth inning, when the team could have used him.

Harper has been nothing short of superb for the Phillies, especially since he came back from Tommy John surgery faster than anyone ever.

But him not being in the lineup likely cost the Phillies, because there isn’t a world where Dalton Guthrie is a better option against the Mets than Harper.

I get the need to be careful with him overworking his elbow, even just swinging, and having two days off in a row makes a lot of sense… but why during these important division games?

Yes, this is more on the organizational plan than it is on the player, which might seem counter-intuitive to my entire post, BUT… Harper was given the option to take the day off against the Braves Sunday or the Mets Tuesday.

He chose the Mets.

While there can be a whole other post about letting players dictate things and not the team dictating things to the player, this was a short-sighted choice. The matchup with the Braves was not in the Phillies’ favor (Spencer Strider vs. Dylan Covey). The one with the Mets could have been with Harper.

Players are making the wrong choices. They need to figure themselves out for the good of this team. Otherwise the summer is going to be incredibly agonizing.