Gabe Kapler's alarming error adds to rough start as Phillies manager

If there was a reset button in the Philadelphia Phillies dugout, new manager Gabe Kapler would have pressed it several times by now.

His first three games have been an out-of-control roller coaster at best, a disaster at worst, with Saturday’s 15-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves providing a low point that the Phillies have to hope will never be duplicated.

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The moment we speak of came in the third inning, when Kapler wanted to make a pitching change. Starter Vincent Velasquez was getting roughed up, having allowed seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. It made sense to remove him at that point. The issue is that relief pitcher Hoby Milner wasn’t warmed up yet when Kapler called for the change. In fact, reporters on scene say Milner basically started warming up the moment Kapler left the dugout.

Kapler attempted to stall to give Milner more warmup pitches in the bullpen, but the umpires intervened and ended up docking pitches from his warm up.

Here’s a rundown of the incident via The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.


In the middle of all this, Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected for the second time in three games. He was angry that the umpires allowed Milner to throw any warmups.

However, home plate umpire Jerry Layne said he decided to put the health of the pitcher first.

When the umpires are throwing shade, that’s not a good look.

Worth noting, Milner would face three batters, allowing a pair of runners before retiring Preston Tucker to end the inning.

That was definitely the low point of the series for Kapler. Though things didn’t get much better later on. With his bullpen already overworked just three games into the season and his team trailing by 11 runs, he was forced to call on outfielder Pedro Florimon to pitching the eighth inning.

Florimon, to his credit, did relatively well, allowing two runs on a Lane Adams homer.

Kapler’s bullpen mess was his own doing too, after questionable decisions he’d made on Thursday and Friday.

The start of Gabe Kapler’s managerial career with the Phillies has not gone smoothly.
The start of Gabe Kapler’s managerial career with the Phillies has not gone smoothly.

In the opener, he removed ace Aaron Nola from a 5-0 game after 5 1/3 innings pitched. Nola had only thrown 68 pitches. The next batter, Freddie Freeman, launched a home run and the Braves went on to score eight unanswered runs to win the game.

The Phillies won the second game 5-4 in 11 innings, but not before Kapler burned through eight relievers.

Obviously, Kapler is still getting adjusted to life in the dugout. Everyone knew there would be bumps in the road. OK, so maybe they’ve been closer to potholes so far. As long as Kapler learns from them and ultimately fixes them, these painful experiences should have some value down the road.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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