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What the Phillies can learn from Ruly Carpenter | Extra Innings

Carpenter realized the Phillies had to do a better job of cultivating talent if they wanted to win a championship. More than 40 years later, they need to do it again.

Ruly Carpenter (left) at a 1978 news conference with Pete Rose.
Ruly Carpenter (left) at a 1978 news conference with Pete Rose.Read moreBill Ingraham / AP

Ruly Carpenter’s tenure as Phillies owner is best celebrated by the World Series trophy he brought to Philadelphia in 1980. But the best lesson he provided for the current Phillies is how that trophy was earned.

Carpenter, who died Monday, prioritized player development after graduating from Yale and taking a job with his father’s baseball team in the early 1960s. He pushed his father to appoint Paul Owens as farm director, restructured the scouting department, and realized that the Phillies had to do a better job of cultivating talent if they wanted to win a championship. The plan worked as the 1980 team was full of homegrown stars.

More than 40 years later, the Phillies are chasing a World Series title and will reorganize their minor-league system this winter. They’ll hire a new farm director this offseason, and more changes will follow. The Phillies have to get their minor-league system in order before they can contend at the major-league level, just like Carpenter did many years ago.

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The rundown

Phillies’ playoff push: Bryce Harper’s standout stat, what must go right and more.

Aaron Nola and other Phillies pitchers are struggling in two-strike counts.

Carpenter, who owned the Phillies when they won the 1980 World Series, dies at 81.

Important dates

Tonight: Kyle Gibson opens a three-game series vs. the Cubs, 7:05 p.m.

Tomorrow: Ranger Suarez starts vs. Cubs right-hander Alec Mills, 7:05 p.m.

Thursday: The Phillies try a bullpen game in the series finale, 6:05 p.m.

Friday: The Phillies open a three-game set at Citi Field vs. the Mets, 7:10 p.m.

Sunday: The Phillies and Mets play on Sunday Night Baseball, 7:08 p.m.

Stat of the day

Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler have built cases this season to become the first Phillies teammates to win MVP and Cy Young Awards since Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton did it in 1980. But when was the last time teammates won those awards but failed to reach the postseason?

John Hunter, who hosts the Phillies podcast “The Diamond Club,” tells us that it last happened in 1962 when Maury Wills won the MVP and Don Drysdale won the Cy Young for a 102-win Dodgers team that finished one game behind the Giants for the NL pennant. So in the traditional playoff era, no team has won both awards without reaching the postseason.

The Phillies, according to FanGraphs, have a 14.7% chance to make the playoffs. They might not make it to the postseason, but they could still make history.

From the mailbag

Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.

Question: Feels like I’m watching a horse race and the Braves are pulling away down the stretch. Maybe it’s time to start watching the wild-card standings? — Brian T. via email

Answer: Thanks, Brian. Yes, I think it is. The division isn’t completely out of reach, but it’s starting to feel like a long shot. The Phillies have to hope the Atlanta Braves trip when they go to San Francisco and San Diego, but that might not matter if the Braves beat up on the Rockies and Diamondbacks the way the Phillies wish they did.

San Diego is leading the wild-card race, but the Padres are suddenly dealing with injuries. Even if the Padres fall out, the Cardinals and Reds are ahead of the Phils.

The wild card might be closer, but it still feels far away. If the Phillies can’t handle the Cubs this week, then it might be time to stop watching the standings.