It’s been a rough week for some of these new managers in baseball. Aaron Boone was roasted over the weekend for walking Josh Donaldson to get to Justin Smoak, while Red Sox fans questioned some of Alex Cora’s decisions on Opening Day.
None of that compares to the lost week Gabe Kapler endured in seven days. Let’s just say the Phillies’ new skipper would like a mulligan.
Compared to all of that, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had a banner week. No major controversies and everything seemed to go the right way. He pulled pitchers at the right time and didn’t overuse his bullpen.
All of that means the Mets are 4-1 after the first five games and today’s 4-2 Facebook win over the Phillies. That’s much better than many expected when the season started.
However, this is going to be a long year and Callaway needs to take some caution and maybe even learn from the mistakes of his other neophyte managers or run the risk of falling into the traps his counterparts have already endured.
You have to wonder if the Phillies ace Aaron Nola is getting paid by the pitch and Kapler is trying to keep costs down, because after the second locked in performance, the Phillies manager took out his ace after 87 pitches and then his bullpen blew it.
No matter what the metrics tell you, Nola is Philadelphia’s best pitcher and way better than anyone he could toss out there.
At least Callaway had an excuse with Noah Syndergaard, who the Phillies battled all day long and only lasted four innings on 92 pitches. Nola was locked in by the fifth after a rocky first inning.
“They just grinded out at bats against him,” Callaway said. “There was nothing wrong with his stuff.”
All you had to do is watch the game to know that. If you are going to lose then lose with your best. However, Kapler keeps getting second guessed.
Eventually it’s going to catch up to Callaway. He’s going to blow a game or two. Rookie mangers tend to do that. Learn now, there’s more to the job then just looking at information. Sometimes you have to just look at the flow of the game.
Since Callaway learned under Terry Francona, you would hope he knows the game is more than just analytics. So far, the Mets manager has done a pretty good balancing act between both worlds.
With five rookie skippers coming in with little to no experience at any level, you have to figure someone is not going to take and will be on the hot seat early. Right now, it’s Kapler with the Philly media and fan base already screaming for his head. That can turn quickly, and a few wins will help chase away the vultures.
And a losing streak may have the spotlight fall on Callaway, but like his counterparts in Boston, DC and the Bronx, he is in a better situation than Kapler. Unlike the Phillies, the talent level of those clubs will help cover up some of the managerial mistakes.
Kapler has taken it in stride the first week, but if he keeps losing and making questionable moves, there may be cries for a more traditional manager like Joe Girardi to come in and put out the dumpster fire.