Phillies

Phillies

Updated: 6:18 p.m.

DENVER — As the Phillies have fallen out of contention with a hellacious stretch of losing, manager Gabe Kapler has diverted some of his attention to the next season. A couple of months ago, this would have been strictly against Kapler's code of maintaining laser-sharp focus on the step in front of him, but reality has hit hard. In less than two months, the Phillies have gone from first place and 15 games over .500 in the NL East to third place and a fast track to a sixth straight losing season.

Kapler is a deep-thinking, analytical man who believes in the pursuit of "constant and continual improvement." As he evaluates what went wrong in his first season as Phillies manager he is also looking to ascertain what he can do better in 2019.

"I have a lot of room to grow and improve," he said before the Phillies' 5-3 loss to the Rockies Thursday. The Phils were outscored 39-7 in the series and have lost eight straight games. 

"The first step I'm taking is seeking out feedback from others on my performance and areas where I fell short."

Kapler and general manager Matt Klentak have already started conducting exit interviews with players. There is give and take about how both sides can get better in 2019.

Kapler is so hungry for feedback and improvement that he has taken this unusual step:

"I have sent out an anonymous survey to all our coaches and support staff to ask them to review my performance," he said.

 

He added that he would follow up with members of the coaching and front office in the coming weeks "to discuss their thoughts and how I can be a better teammate, manager and leader."

He added: "I'm collecting as much information as I can because I know that adjustments need to be made for 2019."

Kapler specifically mentioned that the team needs to improve its defense, baserunning and offense.

"We will be diligent in stripping out ego, seeking out what worked and making changes where it didn't," he said. "We will mine every single edge we can during the offseason. There is nothing that will be sacred or off limits."

Kapler will even address intangible matters like handling a pennant race better.

"An area where we clearly fell short was in, appropriately preparing our players for the grind of a pennant chase in August and September," he said. "The preparation for August and September of 2019 is beginning now. There are specific mental and physical challenges being issued to our players for the offseason so that everyone comes into spring training able to maintain for seven months."

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