Gabe Kapler’s future with the Phillies hangs in the air like an infield pop up, but he says he's not concerned about that at the moment.
“It's not something I'm thinking about right now,” he said before Friday night’s game. “It's not something I'm worried about and I haven't had any conversations (with the front office) about it. I look forward to managing the Phillies for as long as I can and I am going to be thinking about doing a good job for every day I have that opportunity.
“The only thing I think about is managing tonight's baseball game and (continuing) as long as I possibly can. I love being the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies and will do it as long as I can and do as good a job as I can in that role for every day I have that opportunity.”
Either way, Kapler will learn his fate in the coming days. The season ends on Sunday. Teams that make managerial changes generally don’t wait more than a day or two to make their decisions.
As Kapler’s fate hangs in the air, his team is trying to salvage a winning season. The Phillies have not had one of those since way back in 2011.
The Phillies had lost six straight to fall to a game under .500 entering Friday night’s game against the Marlins. A 5-4 win in 15 innings — and a less than crisp five hours and 13 minutes — left the Phillies at 80-80 heading into the final two days of the season.
The Phillies need two wins for that winning season.
Even though upper management might already have its mind made up about Kapler’s fate, the manager has made it clear that a winning season is important to him.
And the players?
“I think they demonstrated that tonight,” Kapler said. “If anyone is questioning the care of this team, everybody was on the top step looking to win that game and when we walked off it was a pretty good feeling.”
The bullpen shined. Seven Phillies relievers combined on 11 scoreless innings. They did not walk a batter. In fact, Phillies pitching did not walk a batter all night.
Lefties Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin both pitched three scoreless innings.
Scott Kingery left the game with blurry vision in the fifth inning. He did not seem alarmed by the issue, but said he might need to get his eyes checked. It’s not clear if he will play Saturday night.
The Phillies won it on a bases-loaded error by Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas in the 15th. Rojas fielded a ground ball by Adam Haseley and wanted to throw home to start a double play, but he lost the handle on the ball. The two teams were a combined 4 for 27 with runners in scoring position. The game might have gone on until daybreak if Rojas hadn’t made the error.
Andrew Knapp had an important sacrifice bunt in the 15th. He atoned for his failure to execute a bunt in the 13th.
“This was a very professional game by us,” Knapp said. “We could have let that one get away from us and gone home, but we’re playing for each other and we’re playing for the city even though the season didn’t go the way we wanted it to. I thought it was great to pull out the win.”
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