Gabe Kapler Explains Decision to go with Zach Eflin Over Aaron Nola

Zach Eflin in Washington
Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Bob was fired up about this topic yesterday, the “should Aaron Nola or Zach Eflin pitch game one in Washington” topic.

He was particularly incensed by this:

That inspired an article, titled Here’s Why Giving Aaron Nola an Extra Day of Rest Makes Sense, in which he wrote:

Let’s sidestep the surface argument that it’s April 2 and only the fourth game of the season, so there’s no need to play this one like it’s the fourth game of the NLDS, even though that’s a perfectly sound argument. Let’s instead look at the data for a more tangible answer. Here are Nola’s 2018 rest splits:

Four Days: 13 games, 7-4, 2.71 ERA, .201 BA, 11 HR allowed, .359 SLG% .611 OPS

Five Days: 17 games, 10-1, 1.83 ERA, .186 BA, 4 HR allowed, .261 SLG% .521 OPS

And here are his career rest splits:

Four Days: 41 games, 17-18, 4.73 ERA, .256 BA, 30 HR allowed, .426 SLG% .735 OPS, 1.281 WHIP

Five Days: 43 games, 23-7, 2.29 ERA, .210 BA, 21 HR allowed .309 SLG%, .580 OPS, 1.036 WHIP

Eflin was lights out last night, going five innings strong while allowing three hits, zero runs, and striking out nine. He threw 85 pitches.

But this story isn’t just me blowing sunshine up Bob’s ass, it’s about Gabe Kapler actually answering that specific question himself. Why did he go with Eflin over Nola last night?

Cataldi asked him about it this morning, after the jump:

Angelo: I wasn’t pleased that you didn’t go with Nola last night. Obviously it worked out great and it was the right decision. Why did you wait?

Kapler: Well first, because Eflin is really important to our rotation. We believe in Eflin. We know he’s going to be a huge contributor to our ball club. And, you know, look – Aaron Nola has performed pretty admirably on an additional day’s rest. And any time we have a chance to get him that extra day – it’s a long season and he’s going to make some huge starts for us – if everything goes the way we expect it to go, he’s gonna make starts for us deep into October and we need to keep him fresh. One of the ways to do that is to give him extra rest. But circling back to my other point, Zach Eflin was really good last night. His changeup was especially effective. He flashed some brilliant breaking balls, and we’re gonna be depending on him. So he is important to us, too, and we need to keep him on a schedule.

There you go. There’s your explanation.

Now you’re 4-0 with a fresh Nola on the mound today.

Let’s go.

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6 Responses

  1. Even the Turtles needed Master Splinter…

    Gabe moved the lineup around yesterday to get in Scherzer’s head and it worked.

    He paid his dues year 1. He is the Hamato Yoshi of the clubhouse.

  2. Why pitch Nola in a game where it’s a potential toss up between two excellent pitchers? If Nola pitched last night and lost in a pitchers duel it would have been a waste of a game. Instead Eflin got the nod and was on fire. The Nats wasted their best pitcher against our end of the rotation pitcher. Now, nothing is given in sports but Nola should pick the Phils up another win tonight. This was a good play from Gabe and if everything plays out how it should puts the Phils two series up over the other best teams in the division.

    I think this may have been the only serious post I’ve made here so I’ll end it with this; Kinker loves farts in and or around his mouth.

  3. If you go Efflin, worst case you’re 3-1 with your ace up next. If you go Nola, worst case 3-1 (legit possibility vs scherzer) w/o your ace next. Best case scenarios both favor Efflin starting as well… early season winning record gives you the flexibility to make these decisions without anyone needing to question it.

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