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PHILADELPHIA - Phillies fans can put away the pitchforks.

Gabe Kapler isn’t going anywhere.

The Phillies second-year manager maintained his office inside Citizens Bank Park on Monday.

And whatever the outcome against the New York Mets in the series opener, he’ll will be there again on Tuesday and every day for the remainder of the season.

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Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said that the coaching staff, including his skipper, is safe and that plan isn’t going to change during the summer.

“Gabe Kapler is our manager, our staff is our staff,” Klentak said. “My view right now is that the wrong thing to do is point a finger at someone and say you are the reason why this is happening.”

“We’ve had a tough time hitting the baseball, we’ve had a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark and we’ve had a tough time with guys getting injured. What I believe is the best thing we can do is rally together.

“Let’s face it, this is the same team that was in first place two weeks ago, this is the same team that was a juggernaut in the first two weeks of the season. To lose faith in our players, to lose faith in our staff would be the wrong thing to do.”

Even if he didn't get a vote of confidence from his boss on Monday, Kapler deserves a shot at pulling this team out of this awful funk, one that has quickly tarnished what was supposed to end not with a mediocre finish, but instead with the team's first playoff berth since 2011.

The Phillies entered Monday’s game against the Mets riding a season-worst, seven-game losing streak. The rough stretch has resulted in a 10-game swing in the standings over the last two weeks, tumbling out of first place in the National League East Division to a distant second place behind the Atlanta Braves.

Fans also point to the team that endured one of the franchise’s worst stretches on Kapler’s watch when the club went 16-34 over the final two months of last season.

Kapler says he’s heard some of the fan base call for his dismissal, and he likes the heat that goes along with his job

“It doesn’t bother me. I knew coming to the city of Philadelphia and being a coach or a manager in this town comes with a high demands, a high bar, a lot of expectations and I appreciate it.

“I love the concept that I’ll be judged on how our team Is performing, I think that’s the right way to judge any leader. I take responsibility for our club and our performance.”

Kapler can’t swing the bats. Nor can he pitch the seventh or eighth innings.

However, the manager can set the tone for his ballclub. He can give this team a bolt of energy when it desperately needs it. He can get his players to play with a sensible level of urgency.

If he can’t, that’s a major concern and could be Kapler’s downfall.

That’s been the biggest problem with this team. If they aren’t hitting home runs, they’re just not exciting to watch.

Maybe the cord won't be long for hitting coach John Mallee and his assistant Pedro Guerrero. It’s probably shorter than one for the curveball pitching machine that is expected to cure the hitter's recent woes.

The Phillies offense has gone ice cold just has hittin’ season is starting to heat up.

The club has batted .222 with a .295 on-base percentage over the last 22 games, averaging 3.7 runs over the stretch. Those numbers are even worse than ones the offense put up over last year’s historical collapse over the final two months (.227/.302 and 3.8).

The loss of Andrew McCutchen to injury has certainly hurt the lineup, but the other All-Stars who were brought in are also slumping. Guys that were shipped out like Carlos Santana, who boasts a slash line of .293/.416/.541) and J.P. Crawford (.300/.377/.450) are producing better than they did last year with the Phillies.

And if you think the Phillies will be major dealers at the trade deadline, Klentak certainly didn’t give off that vibe.

“I don’t think we should be focused on re-enforcements from the outside,” Klentak said. “If this group of 25 guys plays well, we will be a playoff team. If this group of 25 guys doesn’t play well, we won’t be.”

Maybe Klentak was just showing off his best poker face. If so, maybe Kapler should be worried.

Tom McGurk is a regional sports reporter for the Courier-Post and The Daily Journal, covering South Jersey sports for over 30 years. If you have a sports story that needs to be told, contact him at (856) 486-2420 or email tmcgurk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @McGurkSports. Help support local journalism with a Courier Post subscription.

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