Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana isn't the burning meme dog, but he wants you to know that everything is fine.
Santana, who the Phillies signed to a three-year/$60 million free-agent contract this past offseason, had just three hits this past weekend as the Phillies were swept by the San Francisco Giants. Sunday, he played pretty well, walking three times and singling in the top of the first inning. However, Santana drew criticism for only reaching first base on that hit, as he stood in the batter's box for some time, thinking the lazy fly ball he hit into no-man's land would go foul. Had he run the entire time, he may have doubled instead. Nick Williams the next hitter, singled into left-center field.
The Phillies are 2-5 on their current road-trip. Had they not melted down in the eighth inning of their first game in Los Angeles, they would have taken three of four from the defending National League champions. Instead, they split the series. They were shut out in the first two games of their weekend set in San Francisco, with Jake Arrieta's home run Sunday marking the team's only run this weekend.
But Santana, less than two years removed from playing in the World Series with the Cleveland Indians, isn't panicked after the Phillies weekend struggles.
“I mean, everything is fine,” Santana said to the collective media, which included Matt Gelb of The Athletic. “Everything is fine. We don’t have to change. It was a bad series. That happens. You know? It happens. The Giants, they are playing well. Right now, the last three games, that happens. I know we lost this series, but it’s in the past. We’ll come play the Cubs. New week. New series. So we’re fine. We’re fine.”
Long noted for his positive clubhouse presence, it's not surprising for Santana to have a measured response to the Phillies recent struggles. After hitting .149 in April, he told Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer in early May that he wasn't worried about his slow start and to "check back in September." Santana went on to slash .281/.373/.594 with seven home runs, 22 RBIs and a .966 OPS in May. Saying "everything is fine" has become a way in the internet age to say that everything isn't fine, but when Santana says it, he means it literally.
Of course, not all the veterans in the Phillies clubhouse felt as calm after the team's 6-1 loss Sunday.
Arrieta - who helped the Chicago Cubs defeat Santana's Indians in the 2016 World Series - had a more raw response Sunday.
“Well, we’ve had bad defensive shifts, we had a check swing, Kingery should have gone to second on that play and they got three hits in a row,” Arrieta said to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia after the game. “The home run, credit McCutchen for putting a good swing on it, but I did not expect a ball like that to get out. Overall, it’s just a really horses--- series. Really bad. Really bad.”
There's probably room for both responses in a clubhouse. Arrieta has won a National League Cy Young Award and a World Series title pitching with his emotions on his sleeve. Prior to joining the Phillies, Santana's reserved style of leadership helped the Indians to become an American League power. In a perfect world, all players would respond how manager Gabe Kapler did, saying he was pissed about the series but keeping an optimistic tone. But as the Phillies found out this weekend, we don't live in a perfect world.