Arrieta Calls Out Defensive Shifts, Voices Anger at Phillies Org
The Phillies closed out their three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco in the manner in which they entered the series: lifeless. The Phillies managed one run the entire series and that run came off the bat of starter Jake Arreita, who homered to left field. After the game, Arrieta had some harsh comments about the Phillies organization.
Arrieta had some choice words about defensive shifts. While he mentions Scott Kingery by name in his comments, the words were not directed at Kingery himself. Instead he resented the whole approach to defensive shifts, which he felt led to his bad inning.
Matt Gelb of The Athletic was one of those present for Arrieta's postgame words and wrote them here up here:
Arrieta is not wrong about the defensive shifts. According to Sports Info Solutions, the shifts are the worst in the league:
In other words, these shifts are estimated to have cost the Phillies 11 runs so far this season.
But separately, the offense is a real problem. The team was carried by the hot play of outfielder Odubel Herrera, second baseman Cesar Hernandez and at times by third baseman Maikel Franco. Herrera went 2 for 12 over the weekend while Hernandez and Franco each went 2 for 11. That will not get the job done.
First baseman Carlos Santana was 2 for 8, having walked three times, but failed to run on a pop-up down the line that landed just fair. Santana ended up at first base instead of second base, and would have scored on the Nick Williams single that followed. Santana, meanwhile, thinks everything is fine.
The Phillies of course are without outfielder Rhys Hoskins, who was in a bit of a sophomore slump to begin with.
The Phillies are not this bad, even without Hoskins and without J.P. Crawford who could return sooner than later. But as Arrieta notes, if the Phillies are going to contend, they must be playing better in this crucial stretch. After occupying first place briefly, the Phillies sit in third place in the National League East, three games behind the Atlanta Braves and one and a half games behind the Washington Nationals.