The Phillies had tried to wait for the team to snap out of their funk rather than do something drastic, but with the trade deadline looming and the Phillies hole only getting deeper with each passing week, it was time for someone to take the fall.
Hitting coach Milt Thompson was that guy. Thompson isn‚Äôt the reason that the Phillies haven‚Äôt been able to hit consistently since the middle of May, but his firing may be a good thing for the Phillies.
When a coach‚Äôs message grows stale, players will stop listening and start tuning him out. Sometimes, a fresh voice with a fresh approach can make a significant difference in a team.
Look at what happened with the Flyers this season. They were playing lifeless, uninspired hockey to start the season. Though many believed John Stevens wasn‚Äôt to blame for the Flyer‚Äôs struggles he was relieved of his duties. Though it took some time, his replacement Peter Laviolette was able to get his message across to the team and they were a much different group in May than in December.
While changing hitting coaches midway through the season isn‚Äôt quite as dramatic a change as switching head coaches, it may be the wake up call some of this team‚Äôs players need.
It still isn‚Äôt too late for the Phillies to save this season. They entered Friday still only 3.5 games behind in the Wild Card race. There are a number of teams currently caught in a logjam, and none of them have been strong enough to get a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack. If the sleeping giant that is the Phillies offense were to awaken, the Phillies are still very capable of reaching the playoffs.