If the removal of Aaron Nola in the Phillies' season opener seemed rare to you, it's because it was.
Nola, of course, was pulled Thursday after just 68 pitches. He had gone 5⅓ innings and not allowed a run.
In 2017, there were only two starting pitchers *all season* who were pulled in that scenario. Only two guys all year who recorded an out in the fifth but weren't allowed to complete six innings despite that low a pitch count and one or no runs allowed.
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One of them was Jordan Montgomery, who ceded to the Yankees' elite bullpen. The other was Eddie Butler, an inexperienced major-league starter whose career high is six innings.
Neither is close to Nola's caliber.
It's a decision by Gabe Kapler that has been and will continue to be scrutinized, but the beauty of baseball is that Kapler and the Phils' pen have a chance to get back on track just 24 hours later.