The long-awaited day of the MLB’s return occurred yesterday as a pair of games were played. While the Yankees and Nationals game was forced to stop in the 6th inning due to weather (which seems so fitting for 2020), the Giants and Dodgers were able to play out the completion of their game. The Broadcast began with talk about how unrecognizable the Giants roster was. Led by manager Gabe Kapler and with names like Hunter Pence, Darin Ruff, Rob Brantley, and Drew Smyly the team was not so unrecognizable for Phllies fans.
The Kapler experiment in Philly was nothing short of a massive failure. While Gabe is a nice enough guy off the diamond, the sour taste of his managing style returned throughout this game. The Giants are in a much worse place as a team than the Phillies were when he took over in his previous job so he should not be judged purely off record in this situation. The Giants are coming off 3 straight losing seasons and are a rag-tag team made up of veterans past their prime paired with moderately exciting prospects. Regardless of the talent, the saber-metrically driven decisions by Kapler were put on display once again.
Perhaps the most evident piece of this is seen with the managing of the pitchers. In the season debut, the Giants went through 6 pitchers in a matter of just 8 innings pitched. Johnny Cueto got the start but was pulled after just 63 pitches thrown. As was often seen with the Phillies, things blew up when the bullpen took over and the Dodgers knocked in 5 runs in the 7th inning to fully take control of the game. After playing small-ball and knocking in a run and taking a 1-0 in the 3rd, the Dodgers were able to wake the bats up and put a dominant 8-1 victory in the books.
There should not be bad wishes for Gabe Kapler as he has a second chance as an MLB manager this year. However, it certainly is a nice feeling to know there is a new skip in town for the Phillies. Joe Girardi will be the most impactful addition this offseason and fans should be confident in his ability to lead this team. Girardi is known for his intensity and focus and has already brought on a change in tone in the locker room. He has one World Series ring as a manager and never had a team with a losing record in his time in New York. The minutes are ticking down until the Phillies begin their season and the excitement continues to grow. There will be no talk of Coconut Oil this season but the shout’s of “Play Ball” are right around the corner.
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports