The Philadelphia Phillies now find themselves in third place in the division behind the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals. This season is starting to have bad similarities with the 2018 season collapse. And with the Phillies being finically invested into this group of players with a win-now mentality, a coaching staff change would be the first attempt to fix this team. Phillies pitching coach Chris Young is on the hot seat as his starting and relief pitching has started to implode.
Phillies pitching coach Chris Young one and Done?
In November of 2018, the Phillies dismissed pitching coach Rick Kranitz from the coaching staff. Kranitz helped improve the Phillies by 14 games. But the Phillies front office evaluated the pitching staff as the team’s strong point and also evaluated the pitching for not reaching their full potential. So the Phillies chose to make a switch at pitching coach to help achieve their goal.
The Phillies chose to replace Kranitz with assistant pitching coach Young. In the meantime, Kranitz was hired by the Braves as their new pitching coach. Now a little over halfway through Young’s first season as the pitching coach it has been nothing short of a disaster. The Phillies pitching has now given up 150 home runs this season which is the worst in all of Major League Baseball. Besides the success of Aaron Nola and Hector Neris, there has been a decline with all the other pitchers.
There is now no room for the Phillies as a team to waste time for learning on the job. Pitching has become the Phillies weakest link both in the bullpen and the starting pitchers.
With the Investments made by Phillies ownership, the Phillies need to win now.
The Phillies are in too deep to change course unless they go into sell mode. But that is not going to happen as of now. The Phillies have big contracts in the bullpen with Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, David Robertson, and Juan Nicasio. Those four players have a combined salary of $35-million dollars. That money has not done much for the Phillies this year. After 87 games the four pitchers combined to pitch 61 innings and a combined 5.02 era. Each of these pitchers has also made at least one trip to the Injured Reserve this season.
With the Phillies, mid-range contracts out of the bullpen making between one and two million this year consist of Jose Alvarez, Hector Neris, and Adam Morgan. The three pitchers combined for 86.1 innings and a combined 3.75 era. Those combined stats become a bit deceiving with Neris having the bulk of the innings and a 3.09 era himself.
The Phillies are already invested deep into this bullpen. To keep adding money for talent would only create the Phillies to handicap themselves with any other needs.
For the starting pitchers, the Phillies are locked in with Nola and Arrieta at the top of the rotation. Along with not having any big contracts with the three, four and five rotation spots. The Phillies also have gigantic holes. There has been no consistency.
No answers for the lack of success
Both Phillies fans and media have been clamoring for answers for the coaching staff to answer on what is being done to change the results. But Kapler has not thrown any single player’s name out there and is only talking about the pitchers as a group. The biggest amount of insight Kapler has left about possible adjustments is saying he is “confident that there’s a specific adjustment that is going to help us get better.”
While Young has voiced his thoughts by saying “But absolutely we’re making adjustments on a daily basis and sometimes on a middle-of-the-game basis to address trying to avoid damage.”
Feature Image via Flickr by Bryan Green
Stats via Baseball-Reference
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