Stephen Strasburg may not be the award-winning hitter he was in 2012, but that didn’t stop him from snapping a scoreless streak of 10 at-bats to go yard against the Phillies on Friday night. The Nationals’ right-hander skied a 1-2 pitch from Nick Pivetta to deep center field, clearing the bases to boost Washington’s lead to 2-0 in the second inning:
Strasburg is just the fourth pitcher to hit a home run in 2017, preceded by Adam Wainwright, Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner‘s homers in April. The blast marked his second career home run, and the first by a Nationals’ hurler since Mat Latos went deep against the Mets’ Rafael Montero last September. On the mound, Strasburg lasted 5 2/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing five hits, four walks and striking out five of 26 batters. The Nationals currently lead the Phillies 4-2 in the eighth.
The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.
Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.
Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.
Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.