World Series-winning manager Joe Girardi is not concerned about losing his job. Despite the Philadelphia Phillies’ early struggles, Girardi spoke with the media and hushed the rumors – at least from his perspective.
“I don’t worry about my job,” he said. “I’ve never worried about my job. I’ve got to do my job. It’s the business of being a manager. I don’t worry about it.”
Since reaching the .500 mark with a 17-17 record on May 14, the Phillies have dropped 11-of-15. Their current mark of 21-28 is the first time Philadelphia has been seven games under .500 since 2017. In conjunction with a hot start from the 33-17 Mets, it makes for a bad combination for the Phillies, who are 11.5 games behind first-place New York in the NL East division.
All of this despite a $228.7 million payroll, which ranks fourth in MLB.
Philadelphia’s struggles, surprisingly, can be attributed to its underachieving lineup. Bryce Harper is near the league leaders with 10 homeruns, 17 doubles, 32 runs batted in and a .940 OPS. But otherwise, the Phillies have no regulars in their everyday lineup over a .761 mark (an OPS of .800 or better generally shows an above-average hitter).
The team signed outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber for their bats, but both are producing below their expected output. Also, Castellanos and Schwarber are known as bad defenders, and that is contributing to the Phillies being ranked 27th in MLB in fielding out of 30 clubs.
Philadelphia’s starting pitching trio of Zack Wheeler (3.16 ERA), Aaron Nola (3.56 ERA) and Kyle Gibson (3.83 ERA) are holding their own. But the team’s bullpen has been a problem all year, with Phillies relievers serving up the most walks in the league and losing numerous games in the late innings.
So Who’s Really to Blame?
Most of the blame for roster construction and use can be pointed at general manager Dave Dombrowski. But the most unsettling part of Girardi’s effect on performance this season can be highlighted in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Published by Alex Coffey on Sunday after a sweep at the hands of the Mets, the article spoke on the Phillies’ visibly bad body language on the field.
“I don’t know how to describe the energy now, but it’s obviously not where it needs to be,” Castellanos said. “We’re not playing like we should be.”
It may be hard to pin something like an underperforming lineup on the manager. But team morale and attitude? That is probably the most important component that an MLB club wants its manager to control.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal published the above column this morning saying that firing Girardi will not fix the Phillies’ problems. Some ruthless Philadelphia sports fans disagree.
Now in his 14th season at the helm of an MLB team, Girardi only has the 2009 World Series ring with the New York Yankees to show for his managing career this far. Since replacing Gabe Kapler prior to the 2020 season, Girardi has a 131-140 (.483) record in Philadelphia.