Mike Cranston

Pete Mackanin ‘proud’ of career in baseball ahead of Phillies’ managerial finale

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Pete Mackanin ‘proud’ of career in baseball ahead of Phillies’ managerial finale

Pete Mackanin will arrive early at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, as always. He’ll no doubt be friendly and kind to all the people he passes in the hallways. He’ll probably tell a corny joke or two before filling out a lineup card for the 412th time as Phillies manager.

Then he’ll put on a baseball uniform for perhaps the final time in a 49-year career during which he’s done just about everything in the game he loves.

“One thing that I’m proud of is that I’ve been a minor-league player, a minor-league manager, a minor-league field coordinator, a major-league advance scout, a coverage scout at the big-league level. I’ve been a coach in the big leagues, third base. I’ve been a bench coach. I’ve been an interim manager and a manager,” Mackanin said from his office Saturday. “I’ve done pretty much everything there is to do other than GM, which there’s no way I’d ever want that job.”

It was a general manager who decided Mackanin won’t manage the Phillies after the 2017 season finale Sunday against the New York Mets. Matt Klentak, the 37-year-old Ivy League guy with a soft spot for analytics who inherited Mackanin, decided he wanted his own man to guide the team in 2018. After being a caretaker during a painful rebuild, the 66-year-old baseball lifer won’t get to be in the dugout to see if all the young talent can put it together and become a contender.

“I feel that I’m fortunate to have got this job and the other jobs that I’ve gotten as a manager,” said Mackanin, who also had short stints as an interim skipper with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati a decade ago. “There are only so many of them and there are a lot of baseball people who want these jobs.”

Mackanin wanted to keep the job he got after Ryne Sandberg abruptly resigned in July 2015. But Klentak wanted a change. While Kentak never fully articulated why in a Friday news conference, Mackanin will become an Arizona-based special assistant to the GM.

Mackanin was asked if he had regrets for how he’s handled the club over the past 2 1/2 seasons.

“I always second-guess myself. You always make decisions and wonder if it’s the right decision,” Mackanin said. “The thing about in-game decisions is you have to make it based on so many variables. You have to make quick decisions and you have to be prepared for so many different things. Sometimes things come up that you overlook and you second-guess yourself.

“On the other hand, there are a lot of decisions that are made that a lot of people don’t understand, they don’t know what’s going on. They’re critical of it without knowing the reason.”

Mackanin's new contract will allow him to pursue other managerial jobs. His entire coaching staff will be free to seek other jobs as well. But Mackanin knows after first putting on a professional uniform in rookie ball as a 17-year-old with Wytheville in the Appalachian League in 1969, he may not do it again after Sunday.  

“After 49 years, it’s a long time to be in any industry,” Mackanin said. “Not a lot of people get that far.”

Adam Morgan finally falters in Phillies' loss but remains confident in bullpen role

Adam Morgan finally falters in Phillies' loss but remains confident in bullpen role

BOX SCORE

Adam Morgan went to his favorite pitch, the one that has done the most damage in his remarkable second-half run. 

The changeup was slightly misplaced this time, however, and it cost the Phillies the game. 

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run shot in the 11th inning, the first homer allowed by Morgan since July 31, and the New York Mets outlasted the Phils, 7-4, in a four-hour, 10-minute marathon on a brisk and blustery Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park (see observations)

“Tough loss on a cold night,” Pete Mackanin said after his second-to-last game as Phillies manager.

The season ends Sunday, after which Mackanin will move into a front office role (see story)

The Phillies’ late-season success — they dropped to 15-13 in September — has come thanks to plenty of help from Morgan. After nearly being released in spring training and losing his job as a starter, Morgan has become a valuable lefty out of the bullpen that can get righties out, too. 

He came in Saturday night having given up two runs over his past 26 innings with 32 strikeouts. And he was the victim of some tough luck this time. 

Morgan gave up a single to Phillip Evans with one out and then saw two pitches that were clear strikes by the computerized strike zone system called balls before walking Nori Aoki. Morgan then struck out Jose Reyes before the switch-hitting Cabrera came to the plate. 

The 0-1 changeup rode up in the strike zone, and Cabrera pounced for his 14th home run. Unlike Rhys Hoskins’ towering fly in the 10th that died at the warning track thanks to the stiff wind blowing in, Cabrera’s line drive made it just far enough to clear the wall in left-center. 

“He’s had such a great run. He’s been very impressive,” Mackanin said of Morgan. “He just got a changeup up. I was surprised the ball went out because Hoskins hit that ball probably harder than Cabrera did. But he probably got it up in the air too much and the wind got a hold of it.”

Hoskins had tied the game with a two-out, run-scoring single to left in a two-run seventh for his 48th RBI in 49 games. 

Maikel Franco’s third home run in four games, a solo shot in a two-run second, put the Phillies up 2-0 against Mets starter Seth Lugo. 

But Hoskins was the only player to have a hit after the third inning. And this time the bullpen wasn’t perfect. 

“I’m still going to use it. It’s one of my strengths,” Morgan said of his changeup. “Moving forward, I’m just going to try to erase that from my memory and keep going.”

The Phillies rallied after a rough outing by right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who was making his third start in an audition for a 2018 job. Alvarez, the former NL All-Star with the Marlins who had been out of the majors for two years because of shoulder surgeries, walked six in 4 2/3 innings. 

Alvarez, who declined to speak to reporters after the game, was charged with three runs and three hits with no strikeouts. He had a 4.30 ERA in his three starts. 

Mackanin removed catcher Jorge Alfaro after he got banged up tagging out Juan Lagares following a great throw by rightfielder Nick Williams in the fifth. 

“Alfaro made a great tag, but he hit the back of his head on the ground,” Mackanin said. “I just took him out for precautionary reasons. I think he’s going to be fine. The doctor checked him.”

Alfaro was likely to sit Sunday anyway when Mackanin manages the Phillies for a final time and Morgan hopes to get one more chance. 

“I’m real proud, but It’s just reality, nobody’s perfect,” he said. “It was just kind of a bad hit that happened at a bad time. But it’s been fun.”

Phillies-Mets observations: Adam Morgan finally cracks as 3-game win streak ends in extras

Phillies-Mets observations: Adam Morgan finally cracks as 3-game win streak ends in extras

BOX SCORE

Adam Morgan gave up a three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera in the 11th inning and the Phillies fell to the New York Mets, 7-4, Saturday night in the penultimate game of their season and manager Pete Mackanin’s tenure. 

Morgan (3-3) has been one of the Phillies’ top relievers of late, having allowed two runs in his last 26 innings with 32 strikeouts. 

But the lefty gave up a single to Phillip Evans and walked Nori Aoki with one out. After striking out Jose Reyes, Cabrera belted an 0-1 changeup just over the wall in left field for his 14th home run. 

Rhys Hoskins’ two-out single to left off Jamie Callahan capped a two-run seventh as the Phillies tied it. Hoskins nearly won it in the 10th, but his long drive to left got caught up in the wind and was caught at the edge of the wall. 

Maikel Franco hit his second home run in as many days, a solo shot in the second, as the Phillies’ three-game winning streak was snapped. 

• Phillies starter Henderson Alvarez was wild in his final audition for a 2018 job. Struggling with fastball command, Alvarez walked six, including five of the final 10 batters he faced on a chilly and windy night at Citizens Bank Park. In his third start following a two-year absence from the majors because of shoulder trouble, the former NL All-Star didn’t record a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings. 

• Alvarez allowed three runs and three hits, with the Mets going ahead 3-2 in the fifth on Brandon Nimmo’s first career triple, which drove in two.

• The Phillies (65-96) were eliminated in the “race” for the worst record in the majors and ensuing No. 1 pick in next June’s draft when San Francisco (63-98) lost to San Diego 3-2 earlier Saturday.  

• Jeurys Familia, the Mets’ ninth pitcher, worked a perfect 11th. 

• Hoskins has 48 RBIs in 49 games. 

• Alvarez finished with a 4.30 ERA in three starts. He’s a contact pitcher, with a fastball topping out at 93 mph, but once threw a no-hitter and is only 27. The Phillies may try to bring him to spring training with so many openings in the rotation. 

• Alvarez continued to occasionally throw an Eephus pitch. Switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera lined an opposite-field single on a 59.9 mph offering in the fourth. 

• After Franco’s homer, Jorge Alfaro doubled in the second and scored on Cesar Hernandez’s infield single as the Phillies built a 2-0 lead. 

• Franco’s difficult season is finishing on an upswing. He’s homered in three of his last four games and has 23 on the year, taking over the team lead from Tommy Joseph.  

• Alfaro took a shot to the head on that play at the plate and remained down for several moments before getting to his feet and walking off. He was replaced by Cameron Rupp in the seventh. 

• Hoskins made a nice scoop of catcher Rupp’s low throw to first in the seventh.

• The Mets went up 4-2 on Cabrera’s double off Zac Curtis in the seventh. 

• Rightfielder Nick Williams threw out Juan Lagares at the plate to complete a double play to end the sixth. 

• The stiff wind blowing in prevented at least three home runs: Hoskins’ drive to left in the 10th, Nimmo’s fly to center in the first and Alfaro’s drive to right in the fourth.

• Mackanin had J.P. Crawford batting second for the second time since his call-up “just to give him as many at-bats the next two days as I can.” He went 1 for 4 and made a fine snag, spin and throw to first to get Amed Rosario in the sixth. 

• Freddy Galvis drew a walk pinch-hitting to lead off the seventh in his 161st game. Galvis on Sunday can become the first Phillies player to appear in all 162 games since Ryan Howard in 2008. 

• Aaron Altherr hit third, played left field and hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the seventh to make it 4-3. While Altherr has come on late in the season, Mackanin said his durability is still a question. “I’d like to know that a guy can play every day,” he said.

• All major league games on the final day of the season Sunday will start at 3:05 p.m. RHP Nick Pivetta (7-10, 6.26 ERA) will face Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 3.18), who will throw only 20-25 pitches in his return from a lat muscle injury. It will be Mackanin’s final game before he moves into an advisor role next season (see story)