MIAMI -- After Sunday afternoon's 10-5 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he's an optimist.The Phillies may have watched a five-run lead disappear after allowing eight runs in the fifth inning, but Kapler remained unfazed, focusing solely on the positives."I'm going to take away
MIAMI -- After Sunday afternoon's 10-5 loss to the Marlins at Marlins Park, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he's an optimist.
The Phillies may have watched a five-run lead disappear after allowing eight runs in the fifth inning, but Kapler remained unfazed, focusing solely on the positives.
"I'm going to take away all the positive things that we did in the first half and the fact that we are in first place," Kapler said. "We've had a really, really spectacular first half. I'm really proud of our guys, and that's what I'm going to be thinking about, and that's what I think our clubhouse will think about."
Kapler is right: The Phillies had an incredible first half.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Phillies have exceeded expectations. Sunday's defeat dropped their record to 53-42, but 11 games above .500 is still good enough for the top spot in the National League East -- a half-game ahead of the Braves.
Philadelphia, however, was unable to take care of business in its final game before the Midsummer Classic against the last-place Marlins.
Enyel De Los Santos started in place of Zach Eflin, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday for a blister on his throwing hand, and worked around trouble in the early innings but couldn't do so again in the fifth.
"I thought De Los Santos pitched well up to the point where he fell apart," Kapler said.
With the Phillies leading 5-0 in the fifth, the Marlins sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring eight runs on eight hits, including two homers to Cameron Maybin and Brian Anderson. De Los Santos was relieved after surrendering five earned runs and recording just one out in the frame. Edubray Ramos gave up the other three.
"I think I was doing well," De Los Santos said via the team's interpreter. "I left some pitches up in the strike zone and they were able to do some damage. But I'm trying to take the positives out of it and keep practicing to try and get better."
De Los Santos finished the day with a line of 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, one walk and two strikeouts. The 22-year-old right-hander threw 79 pitches in his second big league start.
"I thought he did a good job attacking the zone, working out of some jams early on," Kapler said. "Overall, solid performance by him, but certainly didn't go the way we wanted it to."
Sure, the eight-run fifth knocked the life out of Philadelphia as the club went on to lose its final series of the first half, but otherwise, this team is red hot. The Phillies have won 12 of their last 18 and posted a 21-12 record since June 10.
After finishing last in the division -- and 30 games under .500 -- in 2017, this young team has proven that it is ready to contend among the Majors' best teams. Its winning percentage of .558 ranks third in the NL behind the Cubs (.587) and Brewers (.567), who were still playing after Sunday's defeat.
Moving forward, Philadelphia has four days to rest and recharge during the All-Star break before returning Friday. As for Kapler's thoughts on the second half? You guessed it: optimism through and through.
"I think that's going to feel good for our club," Kapler said. "Our club needs a break, and this is going to be a good, solid break for us."
Sunday's fifth marked the first time since July 14, 2017, at Milwaukee in the second inning that the Phillies have given up eight runs in a frame.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After three scoreless innings, the Phillies' bats awoke in the fourth against Jose Urena. After Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams reached, Maikel Franco ambushed a first-pitch slider, driving in Herrera on a line-drive single to center.
Before Urena had a chance to hunker down and get out of the inning, Scott Kingery grounded one into left, scoring Williams. With two outs and the bases loaded, Urena worked the count to 1-2 on Cesar Hernandez, who cleared the bases by hooking a hanging slider into the right-field corner.
On the big fourth inning, Kapler said it's a good sign of what this offense is capable of.
"Certainly a positive, and we can build on that," Kapler said. "We've talked all year long about how important it is to have big innings, and I think that one provides some confidence for us."
HE SAID IT
"They're a resilient bunch. They've always responded with positive energy the next day, and they've always responded with youth and enthusiasm. It's part of the value of having a very young roster. They bounce back physically, and they bounce back emotionally. There's no question in my mind that we're going to come back from this break on top of our game." -- Kapler
The Phillies will take on the Padres at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, opening the second half with a six-game homestand. Philadelphia has yet to announce its starting pitcher, but it likely will not be ace Aaron Nola, who is set to appear in Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. Clayton Richard will start for San Diego.
Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @Max_Goodman97.