It hasn’t been hitting season for a while down at Citizens Bank Park, but Charlie Manuel hopes to change that now that he’s inheriting the role of Phillies hitting coach.
The Phillies announced the firing of John Mallee on Tuesday morning and moved Manuel from an advisor role in the front office back down to the dugout. The 75-year-old is the winningest manager in franchise history and led the club to a 2008 World Series title, a pair of National League pennants, and five consecutive NL East titles.
The move is not expected to be permanent, but rather an effort to inject some life into an offense that has underachieved for much of the season. The Phillies have averaged just 4.72 runs per game this season and have a .312 wOBA, both figures rank in the bottom half of all of baseball. The club also sits on the outside of the playoff hunt right now, two games behind the second Wild Card spot with two teams in front of them.
Manuel earned success early in his career as a hitting coach in Cleveland where he worked with eventual Hall of Famer Jim Thome. He’s known around baseball as a likable personality and is praised for his simplistic approach to hitting.
Interestingly enough, Manuel and manager Gabe Kapler seem to be total opposites in their approach to the game. Kapler with a passion for analytics and statistics, Manuel with more of a natural feel based almost entirely on gut reactions. It’ll be interesting to see how the two co-exist in the dugout and what changes come about over the coming weeks.
It’s safe to say now though, Kapler’s future in Philadelphia very well could be dictated over these next few weeks.