MLB Quick Thoughts: 3/30/18
 
To celebrate Opening Day, I watched parts of about nine baseball games. The only one I watched start to finish was the Phillies-Braves matchup at SunTrust Park. The reason for my viewership was threefold.

1. I grew up a Phillies fan

2. The Phillies have an interesting young team (the Braves have half of an interesting team)

3. Gabe Kapler bears watching

To a casual observer, the Phillies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. They held a commanding lead for most of the game before giving it away in the late innings. In reality, this was a battle of managerial snafus.

Kapler absolutely erred on the side of over-managing, although I'm not convinced that's a bad thing long term. This should still be treated as a learning season for Philadelphia. They desperately want to contend, but they're still a starting pitcher and mid-lineup slugger away from forming a super roster. Learning occurs almost exclusively via failure. The best case scenario for professional teams is to suffer small failures while still winning games. If Kapler wants to learn from being too aggressive rather than too passive, it makes perfect sense to me.

Braves manager Brian Snitker made his mistake in the middle innings when he relieved a flagging Julio Teheran with Rex Brothers. A helpful hint - Brothers is never the answer in a winnable game. I don't know why he's on the roster. Predictably, he walked both batters faced. Four of the Phillies runs can be traced Snitker's bullpen management. Eventually, the correct choice, A.J. Minter, was summoned.

Of course, all five Braves runs were the responsibility of the Phillies bullpen. The unit - aside from Hoby Milner who allowed a home run to Freddie Freeman - is supposed to be a strength for the club. They struggled. In the ninth inning, after walking Freeman for the third time, Hector Neris surrendered a walk-off three-run home run to Nick friggin' Markakis. The Phillies announcers were gleefully gloating all game about Markakis' lack of power. Oops.