Feel for Phillies fans. Really do. Seriously.
Just one game into the 2018 season and already it appears to be “abandon ship” for many.
The object of ire: new manager Gabe Kapler.
The reason: too many kooky in-game moves and analytics-based nuances to keep track.
From pulling Aaron Nola after the right-hander had recorded an out in the sixth and tossed just 68 pitches to yanking left fielder Rhys Hoskins for defensive purposes in the eighth, Capt. Cocoa Butter had his hands all over the team’s 8-5 Opening Day loss in Atlanta.
It was tough to watch, tough to hear, tough to swallow as it seemed Kap almost systematically erased a 5-0 advantage and paved the way to the Braves’ offense coming alive with his misguided, “the bullpen is the strongest part of our team” beliefs.
No wonder so many were fed up with the guy by night’s end.
Just wish it took me that long to get there.
First pitch hadn’t even happened Thursday and Kap had lost me. Probably for good.
No Odubel Herrera or Scott Kingery in the starting lineup … are you kidding me?
OK, am out.
With no apologies to the baseball purists out there, Herrera is the team’s best player, and the one with the most tools to affect a game in the most ways – yes, even positively. His absence from the 1-9 listed on Kapler’s card handed to the home-plate ump was over-managing of the highest order … before a single pitch was even thrown.
Kingery? What the hell are the Phillies doing with locking the kid down to a long-term deal recently, bucking tradition, both their own and that belonging to the sport, making the rookie a linchpin for the organization for years to come, and then sitting him – with not even a pinch-hitting opportunity offered – once the lights hit the stage?
Holy mackerel. Enough with the over-thinking. Play your best guys. Get the season started off the right way. Guns blazing, ya know.
Not with some convoluted ode to being – gasp – different and authentic. Different, at times, ain’t necessary … and authentic? Hardly. Kapler came across like a teen trying to stand out from the crowd. Gee, how original.
Frankly, the in-game moves didn’t bother me so much. Albeit seeming to be unnecessary, ones such as those may pay off at some point during the next six months – at least Phillies fan can hope for that.
But, to me, the lineup and how it is ordered is everything. You get too cute and “clever” with that, you’re asking for trouble … and more of the same by Mr. Tan Line will burn the Phillies.
Not just this season, but possibly years down the road … with talents such as Herrera opting to leave and Kingery having his growth stunted.