Despite rough patch, Kapler not interested in altering his style

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler talks about his reputation
It was a steamy early-August afternoon and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler found himself standing on the top step of the first base dugout at Citizens Bank Park as batting practice came to a close. His club entered the day with a 1 1/2 game lead while his name was circulating as a potential candidate as Manager of the Year. Things were good in Philadelphia.

By the second week of August ground gave way and the Phillies fell into a tailspin that's finally stumbling to a relentless end as the season inches to a close. Kapler and Co. now find themselves battling with the possibility of finishing the season with a losing record.

Including Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rockies, the Phillies are 15-31 over their last 46 games.

It's a lot to stomach for Kapler, particularly after such a strong showing early on in his rookie season as manager. He hears the boos. He hears the anger and frustration from fans. He hears the objections to his style and his reliance on new-wave baseball analytics.

The truth is Kapler is just as frustrated about the slide, but he's not the type to throw chairs or Gatorade jugs. He's not interested in putting on a performance for the sake of appeasing others.

"I think one of the things that’s been missed in this season is that I feel what people feel," Kapler told reporters prior to Tuesday's game at Coors Field. "I suffer with people. I am extremely, extremely competitive. I hate to lose. So all these things I share in common. People don’t tend to really read it on me. And I think that’s confusing for people. That’s OK.

"I know what people think of me, I know how people are responding to me. Some of it I can do something about, and I will. There are other things … First, I'm not willing to compromise my integrity to be a character. My job is to help the Philadelphia Phillies win baseball games. It's not to be a persona. But it doesn't mean I don't feel. Yes, I promise I get mad. I promise there are conversations that get loud. I promise I pound my fist from time to time. I'm not going to do it for show. It's not who I am."

As the season winds to a close, Kapler acknowledges there's plenty of room for improvement. His entire coaching staff will return in 2019 and he'll be a year wiser on the bench. He's also optimistic about the future, particularly the fact the Phillies are expected to be big players in the free agent market.

“I don’t think that there’s any shortage of information on how we intend to be especially competitive in 2019."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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