Kapler al­ready brac­ing for next round of crit­i­cism

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jack McCaf­fery jm­c­caf­fery@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Jack­McCaf­fery on Twit­ter

The last time the Phillies were in Citi Field, they were on their way to an un­sightly 1-4 start. Aware what was about to hap­pen when Gabe Kapler was to be in­tro­duced for his first home game days later, Matt Klen­tak de­liv­ered the ear­li­est vote of con­fi­dence in sports his­tory.

That plea for pa­tience did not help, and Kapler was booed be­fore his first ap­pear­ance in Cit­i­zens Bank Park. But when the Phils re­turned to Queens more than half a sea­son later and in first place in the Na­tional League East, Kapler was grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity … and aware that the praise could dis­ap­pear as quickly as the crit­i­cism.

“I mean it as gen­uinely as I can: I ex­pected noise,” Kapler said be­fore the Mon­day dou­ble­header against the Mets. “And I also ex­pected crit­i­cism. I still ex­pect noise and crit­i­cism go­ing for­ward be­cause I think that is what brings at­ten­tion to TV pieces, to writ­ten work, and so, I’m very well aware that’s part of the busi­ness. The more aware­ness I’m able to have, the less it’s go­ing to take me off course, the less emo­tional highs and lows I’m go­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The Phillies re­sponded to that 1-4 start by win­ning 48 of their next 80. With that, Kapler built an early Man­ager of the Year can­di­dacy. Very early. “I know that that crit­i­cism is go­ing to come,” he said. “I know it’s go­ing to come in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. I know it’s go­ing to come for as long as I’m work­ing in base­ball.” *** Kapler plans to start Enyel De Los San­tos, the righthander ac­quired in the trade for Freddy Galvis, Tues­day at 7:10 in Citi Field.

De Los San­tos, 22, was 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts for the IronPigs. He was sched­uled to par­tic­i­pate in the Class AAA All-Star Game Wed­nes­day. The Phillies will add him to their 40-man roster be­fore his of­fi­cial pro­mo­tion.

*** Luis Gar­cia con­tin­ues to re­cover from a strained wrist.

“His last bullpen (ses­sion) was rock­ing,” Kapler said. “It was re­ally strong. I think we’re get­ting re­ally close there. Part of this is, we’re try­ing to de­ter­mine whether we want to get him throw­ing his split and feel­ing con­fi­dent in that, or if we just let him roll out there with a fast­ball-slider com­bi­na­tion. I’m not go­ing to tell you ex­actly where we go with that. But at this point, those are some of the con­sid­er­a­tions.”

*** The Phillies have ex­ceeded most if not all of their pre-All-Star-break ex­pec­ta­tions. High among the rea­sons, Kapler be­lieves, is the vet­eran pres­ence pro­vided by pricey ac­qui­si­tions Jake Ar­ri­eta and Car­los San­tana.

“Those are bold and as­sertive moves that Matt made,” he said. “I think they pushed us for­ward. They gave us a plat­form. They gave us a foun­da­tion.

“Last year’s club had made some progress in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. And then in the off­sea­son you add some de­pend­able bullpen pieces with real track records of suc­cess. You add a for­mer Cy Young Award win­ner this spring. You add a mid­dle-of-the-lineup bat who I per­son­ally think has had an out­stand­ing year, a re­mark­able year, one that has com­pletely flown un­der the radar. I re­mem­ber in April think­ing the same thing. San­tana has been tremen­dous.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.