Gabe Kapler first two games as the San Francisco Giants manager were both blowout losses against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But they haven't prevented him from leading the league in coerced eyerolls. Kapler's sin? An obsession with secrecy.
Kapler did not announce his starting pitcher (Logan Webb) for Saturday afternoon's game against the Dodgers until 7:30 AM local time. He did not reveal his starting lineup until 90 minutes before first pitch, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. In response, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expressed some combination of amusement and annoyance.
"It's a little bit of gamesmanship, we'll call it," Roberts told reporters, including SB Nation's Eric Stephens, prior to Saturday's game. "To each, their own."
It should be noted that Kapler is under no obligation to release any of the above information ahead of time. In that sense, the only "rule" he's violating is an unwritten one between managers and teams. It should also be noted that Kapler has contemplated the legitimacy and value of that unwritten rule before, as The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly highlighted last week.
"There can be real value in not just waiting to announce starters but in actually waiting to make the decision," Kapler explained to Baggarly. "Teams without traditional five-man rotations can gather data points on who pitches in the prior night's game and how everyone looks while playing catch and going through their routines before making a final call."
Kapler's point is reasonable enough, and it's possible that there is an advantage to be found in withholding his probable pitcher and his starting lineup until later in the process. At the same time, you can understand Roberts' response. The Dodgers have outpaced the Giants by a 17-2 margin in two games, reducing the rivalry to a slanted mismatch. Depending on one's perspective, that's incentive to either 1) play it straight-up or 2) seek every marginal advantage.
It's clear which way Kapler is leaning.