Asked Wednesday afternoon about Keith Hernandez' comments that the Phillies "fundamentally and defensively have always been just not up to it," manager Rob Thomson pointed to how well they have played defensively the last two months.
"I heard about it," Thomson said. "He's a good baseball man and I respect his opinion but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it because I don't. I think we've been playing very well defensively the last couple of months. I think we made five errors in the month of July and last night was our first one in August.
"He's a good baseball man, that's his opinion, But I don't agree with it."
Hernandez made the comment during what seemed like a tongue-in-cheek segment on SNY's broadcast of Tuesday night's Mets-Reds game. He said that he expressed to the network that he wanted the upcoming Phillies-Mets series off. "I hate doing Philly games," he said.
It's not the first time this season Hernandez has questioned the Phillies' fundamentals, though the Phils have legitimately looked like a different team since they last saw the Mets on May 29. An article at MLB.com earlier this week highlighted the Phillies' in-season defensive improvement, noting they went from minus-20 Outs Above Average in May to plus-5 in July. Alec Bohm has played a large role.
"They've done a lot of footwork stuff, moving his feet, creating hops, glove-work stuff -- how when you don't get a good hop, you can adjust your glove to create it," Thomson said of Bohm's turnaround. "His confidence level is sky high and that's a big thing for any player. He's played extremely well on both sides of the ball."
The Phillies also made trades to shore up their defense up the middle, acquiring shortstop Edmundo Sosa from the Cardinals and center fielder Brandon Marsh from the Angels. Both have been as advertised so far defensively. Sosa started at shortstop Tuesday night and made several high-degree-of-difficulty plays look easy. Marsh quickly got to a ball in the right-center field gap to prevent a runner from advancing an extra base.
"He's very impressive," Thomson said of Sosa. "He's got a lot of range, can move around very well. His glove is tremendous."