There Are Still 158 Games This Season
If you’re like me, you are tired of hearing stuff about Gabe Kapler already. Obviously, if you are reading this then you are a Phillies fan, but if you aren’t let me explain what I’m talking about.
Opening day for the Philadelphia Phillies, Gabe Kapler’s first game as manager, and a 5-0 lead. Everything was smooth sailing until Kapler decided to pull Aaron Nola at just 68 pitches. At that time, Nola was throwing a 3-hit shutout through 5 innings. There was a runner on base and Freddie Freeman was up. Kapler decided that Freeman’s numbers against Nola were just too good. In comes Holby Milner, and he is unable to get Freeman out. Freeman hits a two-run home run.
This is where all the momentum shifted from the Phillies to the Braves. Now, I don’t want this article to be a game recap or anything like that. Instead, I want to take a step back and talk about Gabe Kapler.
I’m sure that you have read all about how Gabe Kapler and his decision making in the first series. Pulling Nola when he was throwing lights out, not starting Odubel Herrera on opening day, and the list goes on. But I’m here to quote Aaron Rodgers, “R-E-L-A-X relax.” The Phillies are 1-2 after the first series of the year, that’s not too bad.
Gabe Kapler’s managerial debut:
❌ Didn’t start the team’s only All-Star position player
❌ Pulled his starting pitcher (throwing a 3-hit SO) in the 6th at 68 pitches
❌ Pulled his best hitter for a defensive replacement in the 8th
❌Chose Ramos over All-Star Neshek in the 8th
— Brayden Smith (@atBraydenSmith) March 29, 2018
This is just one example of how Phillies fans took notice of a poor debut. But let’s not live in the past, let’s take a look at what we know about Gabe Kapler.
The Phillies said from day one, they were bringing Gabe Kapler in to do something different. To take a different, more analytical approach and that is exactly what he did on opening day. Freeman has owned Nola during his career, Kapler knew that and decided he wanted to bring in the lefty to face him. Freeman was slashing .353/.450/.647 with 3 XBH and 4 RBIs against Nola.
This is the type of analytical numbers that Kapler is looking at, and some of the numbers that made up his mind for him. There is a clear problem here, Kapler being a first-time manager is too worried about the numbers. Any baseball guy will tell you that sometimes the numbers lie or even more important, some days they have it and some days they don’t. Nola had it on opening day, he looked almost unhittable.
I want to be VERY clear here, I am not suggesting that Gabe Kapler is not fit to be a good manager or even a great manager in the future. I am just simply saying that he mismanaged this game in particular. And you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. This was his first game as a Major League manager. HIS FIRST GAME. There is no doubt in my mind that he will adjust the way he managed.
Gabe Kapler just doubled down and didn't admit a mistake on the worst decision I've seen in two years. That was a spectacularly bad interview. Someone better wake him up quick. This is going to go VERY badly for him. Not admitting mistakes is not a good look in this town. #phils pic.twitter.com/VrvDMv1jQS
— Justin Windheim (@jwindheim) March 30, 2018
I don’t agree with this guy’s tweet, but the video is gold. You can really see Gabe Kapler’s conviction on both the game of baseball and even more importantly his players. If you are a Phillies fan, take a step back and breather Gabe Kapler will be a good manager.
Featured Image: Bryan Green via Flickr