Phillies Opinion: Take Kapler out of the crosshairs, this collapse is on the players

Gabe Kapler taking the brunt of complaints from Phillies faithful
It's been an exciting ride, but it's becoming more apparent by the day that the Phillies will be bystanders when the baseball postseason rolls around later this month as the Braves appear to now have a stranglehold on the NL East.

You can surely pin some blame on manager Gabe Kapler, but to argue this team would have performed better under someone else is ludicrous. The fan-rants on Twitter about lineups and bullpen usage carry some validity, but the players on the field stumbled when it counted most. That's what matters now.

Carlos Santana underperformed with the bat, as did Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera. Rhys Hoskins had his struggles at the plate. J.P. Crawford failed to take a step forward in his progression as a big league ballplayer. Scott Kingery looked overmatched.

Fielding, all around, was atrocious.

Beyond Aaron Nola, there were far too many question marks in the rotation. The bullpen was unreliable, especially over the last month.

In a snapshot, these reasons are why the Phillies are bumbling to the finish line.

It's easy to throw shade and blame the manager, especially when he's as outside the box as Kapler, but he's not the reason the Phillies have underperformed since early August.

It's easy to hate something when it's different and that's what Kapler is, he's different. Hell, he's remarkably different, but that doesn't change the fact that he has minimal control over lineup production, fielding gaffes, and hanging curves over the middle of the plate.

For a while, Kapler was riding high with some in the game viewing him at the All-Star break as a prime Manager of the Year candidate. He hasn't let up in his intensity since then, but the output in the form of wins just hasn't been there.

Kapler will continue to shield his players, channeling his inner Andy Reid. He'll continue to be positive, almost to a fault. He'll continue to drive fans batty at times with his decisions and reliance on metrics, but all of his quirks can be shadowed by solid production on the field.

It's clear Kapler will be a scapegoat if this collapse continues and that's a position he's seemingly okay with being in, but it's a massive oversight for the majority of blame to center around the managerial role and not with those on the field.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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