Rough Opening Series for Gabe Kapler
The Phillies opened their 2018 campaign – filled with optimism after adding Carols Santana, Jake Arrieta and keeping Scott Kingery on the Opening Day roster – with a heck of a week in Atlanta. Aaron Nola looked great on Opening Day, manager Gabe Kapler pulled him after just 69 pitches, leading the game 5-0. Braves right fielder Nick Markakis smacked a home run over the right field wall off Hector Neris to give the Braves an 8-5 come-from-behind on Opening Day.
While the Phillies were able to pick up a win in game two of the three game set, unfortunately for the Phillies and their fans, pulling Nola might not have been Kapler's biggest blunder of the series.
In the third inning of the series finale on Saturday, Kapler walked to the mound, and waved to the Phillies bullpen for lefty Holby Milner to replace starter Vince Velasquez - problem was, Milner wasn't warming up.
The bizarre situation led home plate umpire Jerry Layne to delay the game to try and protect Milner from potential injury.
"For whatever reason the pitcher wasn't even getting ready," Layne told a pool reporter. "Who got crossed up, I'm not placing blame on anybody because I don't know. He just wasn't ready. Hadn't thrown a pitch. ... The last thing I want to do is get somebody hurt. It's already a messed-up situation."
To make matters worse, Kapler had made so many trips to his bullpen in the series, that he was forced to use position player Pedro Florimon on the mound to close out their 15-2 loss to the Braves.