Bats stay cold in Big Apple as Phillies drop third straight

Kapler rolls with percentages, Phillies fall to Mets
Though he'll never acknowledge it, you have to wonder if Gabe Kapler is secretly cursing the analytical powers that be.

For a second consecutive day, Kapler's use of a defensive alignment based on percentages backfired, allowing the Mets to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning and ultimately claim victory Wednesday over the Phillies at Citi Field, 4-2.

Things took a turn in the sixth for the Phillies when reliever Drew Hutchison issued passes to both Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores. Amed Rosario followed launching a two-out triple over the head of Nick Williams to score both Cabrera and Flores to break the tie.

The kicker; if Williams were standing in a traditional right field position he may have had a play on the ball for the third out of the inning, but he instead was instructed to play an extreme shallow right field putting him in a place where he had no shot to make a catch.

According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Kapler said Williams was told to play that shallow because Hutchison's slider often resulted in weak contact and the shallow positioning would limit the odds of surrendering a hit (Salisbury's story here).

The decision backfired.

Williams admitted to reporters afterward he wasn't sure he would have had a play on the ball even if he were in a normal defensive position, but his odds surely would have been better.



Aaron Nola pieced together a pedestrian start for the Phillies, combating strong winds and more than an hour delay for rain at the outset. He tossed five innings, surrendering two runs on four hits. He walked four.

Kapler's playing of the odds wasn't the only thing that hindered the Phillies - the offense combined for 15 strikeouts and finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Kapler Thoughts
"Well, we always take the long view to these sorts of things. Sometimes if you're looking at it in a small sample in a very specific time, you can go, 'That's not going to work, that's not going to work, that's not going to work.' We have to be patient and trust that we're trying to look at a very large sample size to evaluate if our strategies are working effectively. I can't express enough confidence that our strategies will pay dividends, but I understand in the short term they haven't and that can be disappointing. I get it." -- Kapler speaking on sample sizes and why he's not concerned with playing the numbers. - (Credit Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

Offensive Woes
The Phillies enter Thursday with a .189 team batting average, second to last in all of baseball. The offense also leads all of baseball with a strikeout percentage of 26-percent.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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