Klentak Praises Kapler for Moving on From Boos, Keeping Focus on Players

Three weeks ago, the Phillies returned from their first road trip of the season with a 1-4 record and first-year manager Gabe Kapler was booed before the home opener.

Since then, the boos have turned to cheers. The Phillies entered play Wednesday night with a 14-8 record and Kapler has made some changes in the way he operates. Most notable, he's let his starting pitchers stay in games longer and he's moderated his use of the bullpen.

"I do think Kap has adjusted since the first series," said general manager Matt Klentak, who stopped by the dugout to chat with reporters during batting practice Wednesday. 

"He's probably adjusted from yesterday to today. He asks a lot of questions. He's incredibly passionate about what he does and he has a unique ability to look in the mirror and to be accountable. I think that's what allows him to successfully navigate a season and manage the roster. I think he's absolutely made adjustments and will continue to. I think that makes him no different than all of us."

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Kapler has called his first few games of the season a learning experience and has described the boos as a reminder that he will be held to a high standard by the Philadelphia fans.

Klentak is in his third season as Phillies general manager and Kapler is the signature hire of his tenure. Given the link between the two, it was natural that Klentak be asked what it felt like to hear his man booed before the home opener. The GM was pretty candid in his answer.

"I guess given the way the first few days played out, I wasn't surprised that that was the reaction," he said.

Klentak chose his words carefully.

"You know," he continued, "I was disappointed for him – and I know Gabe probably wouldn't show any emotion – but I was disappointed. It's his first chance to come in and manage a game in the home stadium and he waited a long time for that opportunity.

"But the way he handled it, the way our players handled it, the way the whole organization handled it was really healthy. And, as Gabe said, and I'll reiterate, the focus should be on our players because we have a lot of really good ones. That's really what the focus of the team should be and that's what it is right now.

"So I'm really proud of the way Kap and our staff and our players have pulled together coming out of that first tough road trip. They put it behind them, doubled down on the preparation and the effort and the games themselves and now it's the end of April and we're moving on."

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