Posts for Gabe Kapler

Crossed Up Radio: Sept. 16, 2019

Russ Joy - September 17, 2019

This episode of Crossed Up aired Monday, September 16, 2019 on 610 ESPN Philadelphia.

With the Phillies all but eliminated from postseason contention, Anthony and Bob give their take on what John Middleton should do with Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, and Gabe Kapler. The guys also discuss some potential free agent and trade targets for the 2020 season.

Please subscribe to the show ([Apple Podcasts] [Spotify] [Google Play] [iHeartRadio] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @BobWankelCB

Check out the other shows on the Crossing Broad Podcast Network including: Crossing Broadcast: A Philly Sports PodcastSnow the Goalie: A Flyers PodcastIt’s Always Soccer in PhiladelphiaCrossing Broad FC: A Soccer Podcast, and Broad Lines: Sports Betting Podcast.

Audio after the jump:

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Crossed Up Radio: Sept. 2, 2019

Russ Joy - September 3, 2019

This episode of Crossed Up Radio airs on 610 ESPN Philadelphia every Monday from 5-6PM. Listen on your radio or via the 610ESPN stream.

Anthony and Bob break down Monday’s win over the Reds, discuss the path to the playoffs, and touch on what the Phillies might do with the front office and manager this offseason.

Please subscribe to the show ([Apple Podcasts] [Spotify] [Google Play] [iHeartRadio] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @BobWankelCB

Check out the other shows on the Crossing Broad Podcast Network including: Crossing Broadcast: A Philly Sports PodcastSnow the Goalie: A Flyers PodcastIt’s Always Soccer in PhiladelphiaCrossing Broad FC: A Soccer Podcast, and Broad Lines: Sports Betting Podcast.

Audio after the jump:

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Phillies GM Matt Klentak: “I Love Kap.”

Russ Joy - September 1, 2019

This is sure to go over well with the Phillies faithful. GM Matt Klentak went onto MLB Radio and emphatically backed his manager saying, “I love Kap.”

Our own Bob Wankel has been beating the drum for weeks months that Kapler has done an admirable job of leading a group with massive holes and talent deficiencies this season, leaving those latter concerns at the feet of Klentak. Regardless of where you stand on Kapler/Klentak dynamic, I think it’s fair to say that the comments don’t come at the best time with the Phillies having dropped consecutive games to the NL East rival Mets. Either way, I’m sure Bob and Anthony will have plenty of thoughts on Monday’s Crossed Up Radio on 610 ESPN Philadelphia from 5-6PM.

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Crossed Up Radio: Aug. 19, 2019

Russ Joy - August 20, 2019

This episode of Crossed Up Radio airs on 610 ESPN Philadelphia every Monday from 5-6PM. Listen on your radio or via the 610ESPN stream.

Anthony and Bob discuss the Phillies’ up and down homestand, discuss Rhys Hoskins struggles, and the duo discuss Gabe Kapler’s positive outlook as Bob recounts a recent conversation he had with the Phillies manager.  Plus, the Inquirer’s Matt Breen joins the show.

Please subscribe to the show ([Apple Podcasts] [Spotify] [Google Play] [iHeartRadio] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @BobWankelCB

Check out the other shows on the Crossing Broad Podcast Network including: Crossing Broadcast: A Philly Sports PodcastSnow the Goalie: A Flyers PodcastIt’s Always Soccer in PhiladelphiaCrossing Broad FC: A Soccer Podcast, and Broad Lines: Sports Betting Podcast.

Audio after the jump:

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David Robertson Will Likely Miss 2020 Season Following Tommy John Surgery

Russ Joy - August 17, 2019

While the Phillies are on a bit of a hot streak, they’ve gotten the ball rolling on wrapping up some injury concerns. Roman Quinn was officially placed on the 10-day IL with a right groin strain and it was also confirmed that Jake Arrieta will have surgery later this month to take care of a bone spur that has ailed him throughout the 2019 season. While he’s expected to be back for spring training ahead of the 2020 season, the same cannot be said about reliever David Robertson, who underwent Tommy John surgery on August 15.

That’s devastating news for the Phils, especially GM Matt Klentak, who signed Robertson to a 2-year/$23m deal prior to this season with the thought that he would solidify the back end of the bullpen. It appeared to be an excellent deal at the time with Robertson having strung together eight consecutive seasons with at least 60 innings pitched. He was two years removed from a season split between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, in which he pitched to a 1.84 ERA in 61 games. Last year with the Yankees, he threw a career-high 69.2 innings with a 3.23 ERA and 2.97 FIP. Unfortunately, he only lasted 6.2 innings over seven games in 2019, his first season with the Phillies.

Gabe Kapler spoke to the assembled media ahead of Saturday night’s game against the San Diego Padres and had the following to say of Robertson (transcription via our Phillies writer Bob, who was present for the comments):

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Actually, Gabe Kapler Isn’t Just Throwing Darts

Bob Wankel - August 16, 2019

I’m interested in lineup construction. I want to know why a manager hits certain guys in certain spots and what exactly goes into the thought process as he mixes and matches a lineup to counteract an opposing team’s arms.

Most of the time, a manager’s lineup decisions are self-evident, while sometimes the tinkering might be a slight deviation from conventional wisdom. Occasionally, those deviations are more extreme. When this happens, such decisions typically elicit a skeptical “what the hell is this?” from observers.

As the Phillies continue their ongoing efforts to spark an inconsistent lineup that has underperformed for much of the season, that question has been asked more frequently of manager Gabe Kapler’s lineups.

Kapler certainly raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he put the struggling Rhys Hoskins, a hitter who has spent the bulk of his career in the middle of the order, atop his lineup prior to Wednesday night’s game.

Rhys Hoskins is batting leadoff? Why the hell is Rhys Hoskins batting leadoff? 

If you think I’m making up a false reaction for the sake of providing a framework for this piece, well, I’m not.

Do a Twitter search for the terms “Kapler” and “lineup” together and see what comes up. There’s a critic or two – or 500.

“Does Gabe Kapler just throw darts at a board to pick his lineup?” 

As it turns out, he doesn’t.

Hoskins, who entered Wednesday night’s game in the midst of a hideous 2 for 32 stretch over a nine-game span in which he failed to knock in a run, singled in his first at-bat and later recorded his first RBI since August 3 with a sacrifice fly.

He hasn’t exactly heated up since being put in the leadoff spot – going only 1 for 6 – but he has reached base three times in addition to that sacrifice fly in nine total plate appearances.

I asked Kapler prior to Thursday’s wild walk-off win that completed a rejuvenating three-game sweep of the Cubs about lineup construction, what factors go into the changes he makes, and about Hoskins’ move to the leadoff spot.

I found his answers to be insightful. I’ll interject with some thoughts along the way.

Crossing Broad: How do you weigh out your lineup? Say Rhys gets hot in the leadoff spot, right? Because he’s back in there tonight, and he’s starts to gain some traction, do you look at that and say, “Okay, now he’s getting going, so we’re going to leave him there?” Or do you say, “His natural positioning should be in the middle of the order, so now let’s transition him back.”

Kapler: It’s such a good question, and it’s something that we think about every day.

Thanks, Gabe. Continue.

Kapler: Every day is looked at as it’s own unique entity. Because you’re facing a different pitcher everyday. Players are dealing with different emotions and adjustments they need to make everyday, and you’re trying to account for what the opposing manager and club is going to do. So by way of example, you saw us have Harper at the top of the lineup on several occasions. We also at that point had Haseley down at the bottom of the lineup, or you’ve seen some other guys who haven’t performed historically as well against left (left-handed pitching) down at the bottom of the lineup. And what we saw is that opposing managers are going to try to take advantage of that, so they will have their best left-handed reliever available for the bottom of the lineup, take him all the way through the top and try to get Harper, too.

So, for example, this is just an exercise in lineup construction, game strategy, etc. If Harper is our leadoff hitter today, and Haseley is our eight-hole hitter, and our best options off the bench are left-handed, you can envision a scenario where they’re going to bring their best left-handed reliever in to force us to use maybe a lesser right-handed option, or if we use Logan Morrison by way of example, they’ve got left-left-left to go through with Harper at the top.

Right, so the first thing to consider is the matchup with the opposing starting pitcher. Taking a player’s psyche into consideration is part of the equation as well as how an opponent’s bullpen is best suited to attack the lineup in the later innings. Pretty standard stuff. Matchups and make sure the the player can mentally handle it.

Obviously, the Phillies don’t view Harper as a prototypical leadoff hitter given he hasn’t hit there most nights, but with the offense tanking, they thought his on-base skills could provide a spark. Of National League hitters with at least 300 plate appearances this season, Harper’s 15.6% walk-rate is third. He’s also been productive in eight games out of the leadoff spot with a .972 OPS, but that positioning became problematic when opponents countered in late innings against their left-handed heavy offense. More Gabe:

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Takeaways From the Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler News Conference

Bob Wankel - August 13, 2019

I was down at Citizens Bank Park earlier this afternoon to take in the aftermath of the Phillies’ decision to fire hitting coach John Mallee and replace him with former manager Charlie Manuel for the remainder of the season.

As I outlined earlier, the Phillies’ weak offensive output and the perception that the team’s coaching was responsible for the flatlining or regression of several established or promising hitters served as justification for Mallee’s ouster.

The numbers are ugly. The Phillies enter their series with the Cubs tonight 18th in runs per game, 24th in slugging percentage, 22nd in OPS, 20th in hard-hit percentage, while also holding the game’s second-highest infield fly ball percentage.

If launch angle is the thing, then I guess you could call those numbers a failure to launch.

*Pumps fist, celebrates a terrible pun*

Thank you. I’ll quite literally be here all week as the Phillies are home through Sunday.

Anyway, Klentak, who earlier this season defended Mallee, didn’t need to reference the specific numbers as he offered some insight as to why the team’s decision-makers opted for a change now:

But the reason we did this and the reason we did this today is we have 44 games remaining. We are two games out of the playoffs. I know a lot of people are burying us and saying we have no chance, and we haven’t played well – and part of that’s correct. We have not played well, and we have not hit well, especially since the All-Star break. But we are not buried. And we are not out. And in my judgment, with 44 games remaining, it makes sense for us to try something different rather than continuing to do the same thing we’ve been doing.

That’s true.

The Phillies are only two games out of the NL’s second wild card spot, and they are most certainly not buried, but FanGraphs’ projection model currently gives them only a slim 5.8% chance of reaching the postseason. If the Phillies are going to go on this much talked about run they seem to believe they are capable of, now might be a good time to get going.

Now, like as in tonight. More, after the jump.

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Notes: Kapler With Some Insight on Velasquez, Bruce Optimistic, Haseley Will Get a Shot

Bob Wankel - July 17, 2019

*This Phillies post is brought to you by Cynch propane delivery service. They’ll deliver a brand-new, full tank to your home and take away your old tank for just $10 with the Crossing Broad promo code “ItsLit5”. Just enter your address, leave the tank on your porch/driveway, and Cynch will do the rest.*

 

I was going to pass on the news and notes stuff tonight, but I’m sitting in the press box during the midst of what is now pushing a 90 minute rain delay (and counting), so let’s do some notes, baby! Hell yeah!

We will lead things off with Vince Velasquez, who allowed four homers and failed to finish five complete innings against the Dodgers last night. He showed plus stuff early on and finished the night with seven strikeouts, but he just couldn’t keep the ball in the yard.

Fun fact: Phillies pitchers entered play Wednesday having allowed 20 more homers than any other National League team. In fact, both their starting pitchers and relief pitchers lead the NL in homers allowed. 

Anyway, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler says Velasquez will make his next scheduled start against the Pirates this weekend “as of right now.” Translation: Velasquez will start on Sunday.

Kapler also addressed what he saw from Velasquez, who has only completed six full innings once in his 11 starts this season.

“I think it was very, very clear, every fastball that he threw at the top of the zone, no damage. Every time he missed down in the zone, damage,” he said. “That’s the takeaway. It’s really simple. I talked to him about it today.”

Here’s what Gabe means when he says “down in the zone.”

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