Phillies

Phillies shake up lineup in major way, but Jean Segura still in it

Phillies shake up lineup in major way, but Jean Segura still in it

A day after shortstop Jean Segura again failed to hustle, manager Gabe Kapler has left him in the lineup for tonight’s series finale in Washington. 

Segura will start at shortstop and bat fifth. 

This comes after many fans and analysts called for Kapler to bench Segura after his latest failure to hustle. Many thought it could send a message and possibly help Kapler regain control of the clubhouse he might have lost. 

To open last night’s game, Segura failed to run hard out of the box after hitting a flare to left-center. The ball dropped in and Segura could have easily been on second base, but settled for a single. This is not the first time Segura hasn’t shown maximum hustle. There was, of course, the at-bat earlier this season where he seemed to stumble out of the box and didn’t get down the first-base line. That’s the play when Andrew McCutchen was lost for the year, but it seems overly harsh to blame Segura for the injury. 

After last night’s loss, Kapler said he talked to Segura and Segura understood he needs to bust it more. Here’s what Kapler said last night: 

I talked to him about that. He knows he has to run hard out of the box. He knows he has to be on second base. It’s just unacceptable. Simple as that.

The other most notable part of tonight’s lineup is at the top, where Kapler has Bryce Harper leading off, followed by Rhys Hoskins in the two-hole, a likely attempt to jump-start a recently stagnant offense: 

1. Bryce Harper, RF 
2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
3. Jay Bruce, LF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Jean Segura, SS
6. Scott Kingery, CF
7. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
8. Maikel Franco, 3B
9. Nick Pivetta, P 

In his career as a leadoff hitter, Harper has hit .273 (110 at-bats) with 8 homers, 19 RBIs and 13 walks. Harper has spent most of his time with the Phillies in the three-hole. 

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After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

After hot start vs. Walker Buehler, Phillies lose another player to injury as Jay Bruce exits

Even when things are going right for the Phillies, there's pain involved. Just the way it's gone these last six weeks. With the Phils leading 6-1 in the third inning Tuesday night, Jay Bruce was forced out of the game on an 0-2 count with a strained right oblique.

Bruce has been such an impactful hitter for the Phillies. He entered Tuesday's game hitting .261 with 10 homers, 29 RBI and an .851 OPS in 32 games. He's among the MLB leaders in game-winning hits since joining the Phillies on June 3.

With an oblique injury, that's probably a stint on the IL. Oblique strains tend to sideline a player for three to four weeks. If Bruce does miss time, Logan Morrison could be the next man up. The Phillies signed the veteran left-handed hitter to a minor-league deal over the weekend.

Morrison definitely has power. He hit 38 home runs in 2017 for the Rays and has always been a low-batting-average power hitter with decent plate selection. There's a chance that over the short term, Morrison could make up for some of Bruce's production. 

Keep in mind, too, that we were already seeing the beginning of the inevitable Bruce regression. He is 0 for 14 since the All-Star break.

Nick Williams could be another option to replace Bruce. Williams has been on fire at Triple A, hitting .358 with 10 doubles, six homers and a 1.068 OPS in 120 plate appearances.

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Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

If you're waiting for Gabe Kapler to yell and scream about the current state of the Phillies, to kick over a chair or flip over a table, you'll be waiting a long time. 

It's not his personality. It's not how he views leadership. It's not, in his opinion, the most effective way to send a message.

The topic came up again Tuesday after the Phillies' disgusting 16-2 loss to the Dodgers Monday night, a game that featured maybe their worst two innings of the season. In the fourth, the Phillies were out of position on a safety squeeze, allowed a steal of home and then forgot how many outs there were. In the eighth inning, they were forced to turn to Roman Quinn to pitch because the bullpen was so wretched that it turned a six-run deficit into a 13-run deficit.

Asked Tuesday if he thinks he needs to express more anger to his players, Kapler said, "I'm not f---ing Dallas Green."

"I think many people are looking for me to behave in a certain way," Kapler said. "Who are the managers who stand out through history who are respected in these situations? It's Lou Piniella, it's Dallas Green. Right? These are the guys who you expect to see handle these situations. 

"It's not my personality. It's not who I am. I don't think it's the best way to motivate people. So I don't do it. But it doesn't mean that I don't have every possible conversation and it doesn't mean that I don't care deeply and passionately about making our players. It doesn't mean that I won't look under every stone to give them every opportunity and support to be the best versions of themselves. I'll continue to do that. 

"I just don't do it in the way that many people think it should be done. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm not going to say like, 'Man, I should be Dallas Green.' I'm not f---ing Dallas Green. I never will be."

Two ways to look at this. On the one hand, Kapler deserves some credit for remaining true to himself and not caving to media or fan pressure to act in a manner he doesn't feel will work. On the other hand ... maybe it will work? How can you know until you try? So far, attempting to push and motivate this team through constant support, harmony and looseness has not worked. It has not stopped the losing.

"It's something that I think about a lot. I think there's more than one way to motivate," Kapler said. "If you have 25 different personalities in a room, some of them are going to respond to some styles of leadership and others are going to respond to other styles of leadership. It's not every person in the room is the same way. That's not baseball. That's human behavior."

Kapler and his staff will continue to look for ways to motivate this Phillies team, that is somehow, someway still tied for the second wild-card spot despite losing 24 of its last 39 games.

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