Phillies

Gabe Kapler remains high on Phillies’ hitting coaches despite team's offensive woes

Gabe Kapler remains high on Phillies’ hitting coaches despite team's offensive woes

On the day it was learned that the Phillies parted ways with four minor-league hitting coaches (see story), it was only natural that Gabe Kapler be asked about the hitting coaches on his big-league staff.

Kapler threw his enthusiastic support behind head hitting coach John Mallee and assistant Pedro Guerrero.

“Oh, my gosh, those two are an incredible tandem,” Kapler said. “They have done a tremendous job.”

Under third-year general manager Matt Klentak and first-year manager Kapler, the Phillies have stressed an offensive approach that involves being selective, grinding out at-bats, working deep counts, wearing down pitchers, getting on base and, of course, driving balls in the strike zone.

The Phils entered Wednesday night’s game against Washington ranked second in the National League in both walks (518) and pitches per plate appearance (4.02).

But the team ranked well below average in a number of other categories. The Phils’ .238 team batting average ranked 13th among 15 teams. The team ranked 14th in hits (1,153) and 11th in runs per game (4.26) and OPS (.713). It ranked second with 1,350 strikeouts.

Over the last five weeks, the offense has struggled as the Phillies have gone from 15 games over .500 to just four over .500. The team’s postseason hopes have all but died in that span.

But Kapler remains high on his hitting coaches and the offensive style the Phillies want to employ.

“I understand why a correlation with recent struggles would bring up questions about all sorts of things,” he said. “But in this particular case, I think you’re talking about one of the better hitting coaches in John Mallee and a guy who has supported him in Pedro Guerrero that is off-the-charts good.

“Seeing pitches is a byproduct of being aggressive on pitches in the zone and taking pitches outside the zone. That’s the approach.”

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Phillies schedule: Phils-Braves postponed because of inclement weather, doubleheader Sunday

Phillies schedule: Phils-Braves postponed because of inclement weather, doubleheader Sunday

Friday night's series opener between the Phillies and Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park has been rained out.

It was a "quick bang" as they say in the baseball business, no waiting around for the bad weather to clear out. That's part of the health and safety protocol for the COVID-impacted 2020 season. Major League Baseball does not want players and staff sitting around for long periods of time in enclosed areas like a clubhouse.

The postponement will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Game 2 begins 40 minutes after Game 1 ends. The Phillies have 53 games remaining on their schedule and six of them will be played as part of doubleheaders. They already played a doubleheader Wednesday night, splitting with the New York Yankees.

Jake Arrieta will start for the Phillies Saturday against the Braves. Vince Velasquez will start one of the games of the doubleheader Sunday. The starter for the other game is still TBA. The Phils could promote prospect Spencer Howard to make the start. More on that as it becomes available.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Massive early-season Phillies-Braves series on tap

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Phillies Talk podcast: Massive early-season Phillies-Braves series on tap

The Phillies will play 40% of their games against the Braves over the next four days, making this a massive early-season NL East series.

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss that and more on the latest Phillies Talk podcast.

• How do Phils and Braves match up in 2020?

• How often can the Phillies' bullpen do what it did in series finale vs. Yankees?

• They're lucky to have Hector Neris.

• Starting pitching has been good so far — particularly Zack Wheeler.

• Phillies quietly Top 6 in on-base percentage and slugging.

• Phillies bound for regression one way or the other.

• Yankees complaints.

• J.T. owes the fans a pizza.

• Will we hear the air horn every game now?

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