At the moment, the Philadelphia Phillies find themselves in a pretty decent position. Not only are they 31-26 on the season, but they are just 2.5 games out of first in the NL East. However, that’s where the good news ends. The Phillies have lost three in a row while posting a 3-7 record over their previous 10 contests. And after getting swept by the San Francisco Giants this past weekend, free-agent signing Jake Arrieta would go off on his own team. However, he seems to have the backing of manager Gabe Kapler. His response, per ESPN, goes as follows:
“Jake’s comments are true — we didn’t play well, and we can be better. It’s a good opportunity for us to sit down and discuss how we can improve our team. … Personally, I don’t mind Jake expressing how he feels about shifts or anything else,” Kapler adds.
This, of course, is Kapler’s first season in charge as a big-league manager. After a couple of early hiccups, he’s handling himself quite well. Plus, the Phillies have been playing (mostly) good baseball. But this past weekend was definitely a step back. And sometimes, emotions are going to boil over. More specifically, frustrations are going to boil over. Following the sweep, Arrieta made that perfectly clear:
“Overall, it’s just a really horses— series. Really bad. Really bad. … We need to have an accountability check. This is a key moment in our season. We had a pretty good April, a pretty good May. June isn’t starting out so well.”
In the meantime, it doesn’t get any easier for Kapler and company. Tonight they start a three-game series at Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs. And after that, their June schedule continues to be potentially disastrous. Which begs the question: will they respond quickly enough? Regardless of the answer, one thing is certain: Gabe Kapler is about to face his biggest test as a manager yet.