Never mind that the Phillies went into Tuesday night's game with their worst team ERA since 2016 or that they have set a franchise record for most home runs allowed in a season.
Gabe Kapler, for one, is standing by the work of first-year pitching coach Chris Young.
"I think we've seen some improvements over the course of the last six weeks," the manager said before the Phillies continued their four-game series against the division-leading Atlanta Braves. "That stands out to me."
But most Phillies pitchers, notably Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, have either regressed or stagnated under Young’s supervision. Zach Eflin appears to have salvaged his season after deciding to ditch the Phillies’ general philosophy of throwing fastballs at the top of the zone and instead lean on his sinker.
Asked for specific examples of progress under Young, Kapler cited lefty Drew Smyly, who has posted a 3.93 ERA in nine starts with the Phillies since being signed as a free agent. He was released in June by the Texas Rangers after posting an 8.42 ERA in 13 appearances (nine starts).
“I think Drew Smyly is an indication that good work is being done,” Kapler said. “His last start was excellent, obviously, and I think if you ask Drew, he’ll speak to some of the work that he’s done since he’s been here.”
Veteran reliever Pat Neshek's season -- and almost certainly his Phillies career -- ended, as expected, Tuesday when he had surgery on a torn left hamstring.
Neshek, who posted a 3.61 ERA and made only 50 appearances over the last two seasons since re-signing with the Phillies for $16.25 million, made one appearance since May 23. He's eligible for free agency in the offseason.