Its been a little over a week and the Philadelphia Phillies already have some major story lines brewing that could easily engulf the fan base. This past Saturday night, the Phillies impressed the entire league when they put a whopping 20 runs on the board, the first time this franchise has accomplished that since 2009. Two grand slams in one game will certainly help the cause on the road to 20 runs and this game resulted in the worst loss in franchise history for the Miami Marlins. This game just proved that the Phillies do have the talent and work ethic to be one of the game’s elite.
With one of the most impressive offensive outputs in almost a decade the headline for this team should have consisted of how this team seemed to have finally put the pieces together in order to become successful. However it wasn’t. The headlines that still dominate the Philadelphia area regarding the Phillies continue to focus on the managerial decisions made by Gabe Kapler. Just a few days ago, outfielder Nick Williams criticized his playing time in the media by saying “I Guess the computers are making” the lineups. That is not what the front office wanted to hear especially after Kapler is still trying to overcome critics for his home opening pull of ace Aaron Nola after only 68 pitches. This past Sunday he had to reiterate the fact that Jake Arrieta was on a pitch count because it seemed he was pulled too early in the final game of the series against the Marlins. The questions seemed too much regarding this one decision and not enough focusing on the success the Phillies hitters are having.
But what exactly did the manager expect? The analytic approach to this game seems to be taking over but sometimes when it comes to baseball numbers don’t tell the whole story. During the Phillies glory days of winning five straight division titles manager Charlie Manuel relied heavily on gut feelings along with players who were on a hot streak. Sure match ups along with tendencies lead to some decisions regarding playing time Charlie did his best to see how the players felt on the morning of the game. This way of managing led to huge success and ultimately led to the World Series title in 2008.
Sure Charlie had better players but this is just an example of how baseball can not relay solely on numbers and computers. Sometimes the players can feel the game differently or sometimes players are on a hot/cold streak. The season is still early but Gabe Kapler needs to take a lesson from Charlie Manuel‘s book and take into consideration his gut feeling. Sure Charlie had an advantage with a bigger gut to work with he still remembered that his players, not computers, were the key to the most successful run in the franchise’s history. Gabe needs to figure that out or the Phillies players, along with the Phillies fan base, might run him and his computers out of town.
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