We have a lineup!
Now before we get too in to analyzing it, let’s first realize this:
Missing: From last year’s Phillies opening day lineup in Cincinnati—C Cameron Rupp, 1B Tommy Joseph, SS Freddy Galvis, LF Howie Kendrick, RF Michael Saunders, P Jeremy Hellickson. #BeBold— Larry Shenk (@ShenkLarry) March 29, 2018
So before the wailing and gnashing of teeth about who Kapler has given the honor of an Opening Day start to, let’s all come together and realize that this iteration of the lineup, while maybe not optimal, is miles better than what Pete Mackanin had on hand last year.
Even still...we have questions.
First, you’ll notice that Odubel Herrera is not in the lineup; Aaron Altherr is. It’s not even as though the Braves are running out a lefty either - Julio Teheran is on the bump. Perhaps it is the .185/.214/.296 line that Herrera has against Teheran in 27 plate appearances. However, Altherr has hit .125/.263/.313 in 19 plate appearances, so color me perplexed.
Also, Andrew Knapp is starting in place of Jorge Alfaro. Alfaro received the bulk of the playing time during spring training, which makes this somewhat of a surprise as well. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Knapp has been around for a while and Kapler doesn’t want too much pressure put on Alfaro right away, preferring to ease him into the season.
Last, you get into the actual construction of the lineup as well. Nick Williams is hitting third, Maikel Franco, after a very good end of the spring, is batting seventh, behind J.P. Crawford. It’s definitely a lineup that will make fans begin second guessing the first year skipper.
All in all, in a season where we are told to #BeBold, Kapler has already begun doing so. It is important to remember though that it is only one game. While we may not know the reasons why this lineup has come together, we have to trust that he knows what he is doing.
If only there were a saying for that...