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Maybe Firing Joe Girardi Will Finally Kickstart The Phillies

Joe Girardi folding his hands
Mark Brown/Getty Images|

Joe Girardi in spring training, praying the Phillies pitching and defense would hold up this year. Welp.

The Phillies went for it this year. They have the highest payroll in team history. They signed a few sluggers. They remade the bullpen. They have some promising young guys. They have since had multiple phuckups: Alec Bohm’s errors, a hilarious ninth-inning choke against the Mets, a busted bullpen that can’t even tie its shoes, a player who swung at a pitch that went between his legs. The team started 17-17, though. Not terrible. While the Mets built a big division lead, the Phillies were still at least average.

The second half of May did not go well. With a chance to go above .500 for the first time since opening week, the Phillies lost to the Dodgers on a walk-off in a game where they had a 4-0 lead. That was 17-18. They kept losing. They ended May at 22-29. They were 5.5 games back of the Mets mid-month. They are now 12 games back. Today, this stretch of futility cost Joe Girardi his job. Jim Salisbury was first to report the Phillies had fired Girardi. Rob Thompson, the Phillies’ Canadian bench coach, is the interim manager.

Girardi went 132-141 as Phillies manager. Not quite what the Phillies were hoping for when they announced the hiring of the “proven winner” in October 2019. “It has been a frustrating season for us up until this point,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said today in a statement, “as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities.“ The Phillies, despite their record over the past few weeks, certainly think they’re a good team that is on the verge of a run. I’m serious! Take a look.

    • On May 18, in a 3-0 win over the Padres, pitcher Zack Wheeler said postgame: “I know we've got a good team and I just tried to go out there and do my thing and pitch the best I can.” They were 18-19 at that point.
    • On May 22, the Phillies avoided being swept by the Dodgers when Max Muncy’s error on what should have been a game-ending groundout allowed two runs to score. “It sets the tone for our road trip,” pitcher Zach Eflin said postgame. “It is important for us to take this on the road. We had some great defensive plays late in the game and getting the run in. That was the definition of a team win. We're all pretty pumped here.” The Phillies were 19-22.
    • On May 23, Wheeler won again as the Phillies beat the Braves, 7-3. Eflin was right: The road trip was off to a good start! “I think we have a good ballclub,” Dombrowski told reporters pregame. The Phillies were 20-22.
    • On May 26, the Phillies beat the Braves, 4-1, after eight and a third innings from Aaron Nola. “After what happened the last couple of days, being able to come out with a split is big for us,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said. The Phillies were 21-24.
    • On June 1, the Phillies got their first win since that big series split against the Braves. They beat the Giants, 6-5, avoiding a four-game sweep at home. “We’re still a really good team,” Kyle Schwarber said. “Tonight is hopefully the start of something good,” Nola said. “This is a great way to go into an off day,” Girardi said. The Phillies were 22-29.

Then the Phillies made Girardi work on an off day before canning him this morning. Rude! Still, that’s a lot of quotes from people still with the team who think the Phillies are a good team poised to go on a run. Now a new manager will get to work that out.

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