SAN FRANCISCO -- The Phillies touted Jacob Arrieta's leadership the moment he signed a three-year, $75 million contract in March. They said that when he speaks, people listen.Well, the leader is "furious."Arrieta demanded accountability following Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. The Giants swept a series in
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Phillies touted Jacob Arrieta's leadership the moment he signed a three-year, $75 million contract in March. They said that when he speaks, people listen.
Well, the leader is "furious."
Arrieta demanded accountability following Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. The Giants swept a series in which the Phillies avoided three shutouts only because Arrieta hit a home run in the third inning. But it was more than just the anemic offense, which has been struggling for weeks. It was a little bit of everything, including too many bad outcomes from too many defensive shifts.
"Overall, it's just a really [awful] series," Arrieta said. "Really bad. Really bad."
It could get worse, too. The Phillies do not play a team currently with a losing record until July 3.
"We need to have an accountability check," Arrieta said. "This is a key moment in our season. We had a pretty good April, a pretty good May. June isn't starting out so well."
Arrieta, who posted a 0.91 ERA in May, got asked after the game about how things unraveled for him in the sixth inning. He faced the minimum number of batters and threw just 55 pitches through five innings, before he allowed five runs in the sixth.
"Well, we've had bad defensive shifts," Arrieta said. "We had a check swing. [Scott] Kingery should have gone to second on that play. Then they got three hits in a row. The home run, credit [Andrew] McCutchen for putting a good swing on it, but did not expect a ball like that to get out."
Arrieta entered Sunday with a .283 weighted on-base average (wOBA) on all pitches with the shift. He had a .256 wOBA with the shift off, which is a considerable difference. He also allowed a .277 batting average on balls in play against the shift, but a .271 BABIP with the shift off. The team as a whole has similar numbers. The Phillies had a .301 wOBA on all pitches with the shift, but a .289 wOBA with the shift off.
Sports Info Solutions also ranks the Phillies last in Shift Runs Saved (-11, entering Sunday). The only other team in baseball with a negative rating are the Dodgers (-1).
"We're the worst in the league with shifts," Arrieta said. "We need to change that."
"Copy the best," he said. "I don't know. That's not my job. Use your eyes, make an adjustment and be better. We need some accountability all the way around. Everybody, top to bottom."
Arrieta and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler met behind closed doors following Arrieta's comments. Kapler spoke for a second time to reporters, specifically about Arrieta's assertions that the Phillies' defensive positioning -- something that the Phillies tout and take great pride in -- has been the worst in baseball.
"He cares a lot about winning and I think this series [ticked] him off," Kapler said. "It [ticked] me off, too. He and I are going to spend some time talking about how we position defenders behind him. We are flexible and reasonable as it relates to the way we position defenders. We will be responsive to the optimal positioning based on our spray charts and based on where guys hit the ball. We'll also be responsive to our players, their needs and the best way to position defenders behind them individually so that they're comfortable and they make their pitches.
"A ton of respect for his leadership characteristics, what he brings to that clubhouse. I know why he responded the way he did, and we talked it through like men. And we will continue to do that."
Asked if there is enough wherewithal in the Phillies' clubhouse to be accountable for their performance, either on or off the field, Arrieta said, "Well, if there's not, I'll make sure there is."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Arrieta specifically cited pinch-hitter Alen Hanson's infield single in the sixth inning as a moment of frustration. Arrieta thought shortstop Scott Kingery should have made that play. Kapler did, too.
"It was kind of a check swing, but we still need an out on that play, regardless," Arrieta said.
"It was a tough play either way," Kingery said. "I kind of got caught in the middle of whether or to slide flip to second base or just come in charging and go straight to first."
The Giants would go on to score five runs that frame.
Arrieta benefited from three double plays in the first five innings, including a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play in the fifth. Arrieta struck out Evan Longoria swinging on a 3-2 slider for the first out and Jorge Alfaro caught Brandon Crawford stealing for the second out. Statcast™ tracked Alfaro's throw at 87.1 mph with a pop time of 1.93 seconds. The 87.1 mph throw is the ninth-hardest on a caught stealing by any catcher this season. Alfaro has eight of the top 10 throws.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Carlos Santana did not run to first base on a fly ball down the left-field line in the first inning. It dropped in fair territory for a hit and Santana only reached first base. It is possible he could have scored on Nick Williams' single to left-center field, had he been standing on second.
"Carlos has among the biggest hearts in this clubhouse," Kapler said. "He works as hard as anybody and he brings it every day. I think he thought that ball was going to be foul. Independent of that, our job is to bust it out of the box every single time if we think it's going to be a foul ball or not. In this case, I think we give a guy who works his ass off the benefit of the doubt."
Said Santana: "When I made contact, I thought it was a foul ball. But when I saw the ball come back, I was running hard. I mean, that's what I think. I mean, it's a tough play. It's a tough play. But I don't want to make the last out of the inning."
HE SAID IT
"I think that was a moment of frustration from Jake and I think Jake really supports Scott. Understands that Scott is a young, developing player." -- Kapler, on Arrieta's criticism of Kingery
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Perhaps because the Phillies have been struggling to score runs, they challenged an inning-ending double-play in the third. The Phillies thought Crawford's foot came off the bag before he caught the throw from Joe Panik. But replay confirmed that Crawford's foot touched the bag when the ball reached the interior of his glove. The double-play ended the inning.
The Phillies will spend Monday hanging out in Chicago before they open a three-game series Tuesday against the Cubs at 8:05 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field. Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.50 ERA) faces Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.19 ERA) in the series opener. Eflin allowed one earned run in 12 2/3 innings in his first two starts last month, when he replaced Ben Lively in the rotation. He has a 8.10 ERA (12 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings) in three starts since.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.