Phillies

Odubel Herrera is unhappy and Gabe Kapler likes that

Odubel Herrera is unhappy and Gabe Kapler likes that

ATLANTA — The first pitch of the season hadn't even been thrown and already there was an unhappy Phillie.

Odubel Herrera, the Phillies' best offensive player the last three seasons, was not in new manager Gabe Kapler's starting lineup for opening day Thursday.

Did Herrera miss the team bus or something?

No.

It's a whole new ballgame with the Phillies. Kapler intends to get all his guys reps and each player's workload will be carefully monitored. Matchups and data from the team's now robust analytics department will be used in constructing lineups.

That's basically the short version of why Herrera was not in the lineup on baseball's day of pomp and circumstance.

"I don't like the decision," said Herrera, sitting in front of his locker 3½ hours before game time. "But if they think there are better options, I have to respect that."

Kapler told Herrera on Wednesday that he would not start.

"I want our guys to want to be in the lineup every day," Kapler said. "I want them to have that fire in their belly. I thought the coolest thing was when I talked to Odubel, he said, 'I'm upset. I want to play.' And I said, 'Awesome. That's exactly what we want you to feel.'

"Opening day is special. It's really special and I understand why Odubel would be less than happy about it. Had it been Rhys (Hoskins) or Nick (Williams) or Aaron (Altherr), none of them would be happy if they weren't in the lineup.

"We can't make decisions because somebody might be upset because the truth of the matter is when these guys see how this all plays out, and at the end of the season when they're all getting their reps, there's going to be a lot of comfort with it."

Kapler used an outfield of Hoskins in left, Altherr in center and Williams in right. Altherr started despite being 2 for 16 with nine strikeouts against Braves starter Julio Teheran. Herrera was 5 for 27 with four strikeouts against Teheran.

Kapler said he has lineups planned out for roughly a week and Herrera will get "a ton" of playing time. He added that more than offense went into his decision not to start Herrera. He said Aaron Nola was a ground-ball pitcher, "so we thought maybe we really want Odubel running around out there when the fly-ball pitchers come, not that our other guys aren't great, but Odubel is exceptional out there. So thinking ahead that some of our fly-ball pitchers are coming, we know those aren't going to be off days for him. Odubel will play a ton. He's an exceptional outfielder and a proven bat in the lineup and we can't wait to get him out there and that's coming."

Andrew Knapp started at catcher. Kapler hinted that he and Jorge Alfaro would split the first six games. As for who would close if the Phillies have a lead in the ninth, Kapler would not commit.

"If at any point the game hangs in the balance in our minds, we're thinking of going to our dudes, our guys we feel like can get those hitters out," he said. "So that could be the sixth, eighth, seventh, ninth. We're going to go after the moment in the game that we feel like we can win it."

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

It turns out Jeopardy host Alex Trebek isn't the biggest fan of the Phanatic

Jeopardy has been home to some great moments regarding Philadelphia sports in the past.

 I wish this was another one of these moments ... but it's not.

 It turns out, the show's host host Alex Trebek isn't a big fan of the Phillie Phanatic ... I know, I'm hurt too.


 The Phillies are in disbelief, we all are.
 
 Of course, fans had quite the reaction to the video that surfaced on social media. After all, the Phanatic is the best mascot in all of sports (totally unbiased, of course).




 

I don't even want to know what he thinks about Gritty.

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Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Right around the time the Washington Nationals were clinching their World Series berth this week, a guy who left that team to come play in Philadelphia posted a cute photo to his Instagram story with his baby son. It included the caption, "cuddle time is the best time."

I made light of the juxtaposition of that photo with what Nationals players were currently doing in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it's hard not to think about Bryce Harper during this Nationals run.

We know exactly how Nationals fans down in DC feel about their former favorite slugger who departed DC for big time bucks. They won't stop telling us.

But what was Harper feeling? Thanks to a one-on-one interview Harper did with Jayson Stark of the Athletic, we now have a glimpse into Harper's mind during this unique time.

Stark says Harper was effusive in his praise of the city of Philadelphia during their chat. And the majority of Harper's answers are very savvy in a public relations sense. Harper is good at saying what you think he's supposed to say. But it doesn't come off as disingenuous.

Stark asked Harper if he was feeling any jealousy watching his old pals spray champagne in the locker room and his answer comes off as pretty honest. From the Athletic ($):

“No,” he said again, without a millisecond’s hesitation, “because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision. And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude towards anybody else.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am,” he went on, “and not saying to myself, `Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, `Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

There's plenty more to the piece worth diving into. Stark also spoke with former National/Phillie Jayson Werth, who knows a thing or two about both cities/clubs and also what it's like to play alongside Harper.

The Nationals' opponent in the World Series is yet to be set, but whether it's the Nationals, New York Yankees or Houston Astros who are spraying champagne at the end of it, you won't see Harper doing that. Unless he and his little baby pop up in his Instagram stories getting wacky.

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