Will the Phillies fire their manager after three games? Of course the Phillies will not fire their manager after three games. Nor should they.
On social media, fans have been calling for the ouster of Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. Before we get all bent out of shape, let us consider a few things to calm down some.
1. Kapler is not without fault. After calling for left-handed reliever Hoby Milner without properly getting him warmed was clearly a mistake. Kapler acknowledged as much after mass, as did the umpiring crew.
This will not be the last mistake Kapler makes as he gets acclimated to his new role. The Phillies brought in veteran bench coach Rob Thomson to try to minimize such mistakes. But Kapler is a rookie, and we should expect some learning curve.
2. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez deserves a good amount of blame for failing to finish three innings. The Phillies should expect more from Velasquez at this point, who so far has failed to show that his electric arm has translated to a spot in the starting rotation. At some point in the nearer future than later, Velasquez needs to show he belongs or he will not be starting games for the Phillies.
Velasquez threw one more pitch than Opening Day starter Aaron Nola and got exactly half the outs. If you thought Nola should have pitched longer, it shows just how bad Velasquez was.
3. All of MLB lost a week of Spring Training and starters are less stretched out. The new CBA gave the players more off days at their request, which meant that they had to start the season a week earlier. This means starters have at least one fewer Spring appearance than usual, if not two.
Starters used to be stretched out further by now. In the six-inning era of starters that means across the game the bullpens are taxed this early.
4. Kapler does not have the two veteran arms the Phillies spent $34 million to stabilize the bullpen. Both Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter are of no help right now. That means at least two relievers who would not have made the club have to pitch (Jake Thompson and Edubray Ramos?).
That does not mean Kapler made the best decisions so far, but should Hunter or Neshek enter the game and calm things down, there may not have been an Opening Day loss or a 15-2, Pedro Florimon-pitched blowout may have been much more tame.
While fans should be frustrated for many reasons, calling for Kapler’s ouster now is a bit too extreme. Let us keep all of this in perspective as the Phillies head to New York to take on the Mets. Hopefully Jake Arrieta will help.
To whoever registered the domain name firegabekapler.com, know that it will not happen anytime soon, nor is that a discussion to have just yet.