The Phillies Should Be Interesting This Year

This year’s baseball season is still very young, which makes it difficult to make ironclad assertions about teams, players and managers. But if the first few games are any indication, the Philadelphia Phillies look like a team that may be very interesting to watch this year. But that does not mean that they will be very good.

Gabe Kapler is the Phillies’ new manager, and this is his first managing job. So, a healthy amount of rookie mistakes should be expected. But this is not a person who is new to baseball. He played more than a dozen years in the major leagues, for 7 different teams. Though you would not know it from his first three games.

In these games — which have included 28 innings — Kapler has used 20 different pitchers. 21 if you include infielder Pedro Florimón, who is now the first non-pitcher to pitch in the month of March in major league history. Only the Miami Marlins have used more pitchers so far, and they have a better excuse, as they have played not only an extra game but had another last 17 innings.

Interestingly, the game in which Florimón pitched was not the most interesting pitching moment of the game. That came in the third inning when Kapler inexplicably removed Vince Velasquez despite the fact there was no pitcher warming up in the bullpen. Fortunately for Kapler and the team, umpire crew chief Jerry Layne took mercy on Kapler and gave relief pitcher Hoby Milner more time than the standard 2 minutes to warm up, so that he would not hurt himself.

All this actually helped the Phillies, because Brian Snitker — who is the Atlanta Braves’ manager — was so upset at Layne for helping Kapler that he got himself thrown out of the game. Afterward, Layne said that, whoever was responsible for the snafu on the part of the Phillies, should have to answer to the league.

Kaplar at least took the blame for the snafu, saying that there was “miscommunication.” But this was not even his first mistake in terms of pitching changes. On opening day, with his team up 5-0 in the fifth, he took out starter Aaron Nola, who had thrown only 68 pitches. The team eventually lost 8-5.