The pitching coach that got away
I’m watching Game 4 of NLDS between the Braves and the Brewers. Atlanta’s pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, just visited the mound to talk to Charlie Morton.
The Braves currently lead the best-of-five series 2-1, coming off consecutive 3-0 shutout victories. Even if they lose in five games to a very good Milwaukee team, the Braves are built for long-term success.
I just shake my head when I remember that Kranitz was the Phillies’ pitching coach in 2018. That season was Gabe Kapler’s first as Phils manager, and the club – despite a September collapse – was widely seen as overachieving.
Kranitz was popular with the pitchers, who credited him with helping them improve. So what did Philadelphia do? The front office fired him go in order to promote the assistant pitching coach, Chris Young, to Kranitz’s spot.
Naturally, Atlanta snapped up Kranitz in about five minutes. And this was a Braves team that was coming off an NL East title, not a rebuilding club.
Kranitz has been there ever since. Given the performance of young pitchers like Max Fried and Ian Anderson, I assume his job is secure. Meanwhile, Young lasted one season as the Phillies’ pitching coach and the team has gone through a coaching carousel at the position.
It’s painful enough the Phils let Kranitz go in the first place. What’s worse is that a World Series-contending division rival hired him, which makes the Phillies look even more foolish.