Angry Phillies fans may get their wish sooner rather than later.
Joe Girardi was lustily booed Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Ballpark when he yanked Zack Wheeler after 7 2/3 scoreless innings – and just 78 pitches. He then watched his bullpen blow the game in the 10th inning as the Rangers won, 2-1, to sweep a two-game midweek series.
The Phillies are now 11-14 this season. They are five games back in the loss column in the National League East and four back from an NL wild card spot. And they have a top-5 payroll after a busy offseason.
It’s, uh, not what you want.
The avalanche is clearly about to rumble down the mountain, if it has not already started. This has gone beyond silly WIP polls on Twitter. Girardi is in the final year of his contract and he wasn’t front office czar Dave Dombrowski’s hire. If the Phillies continue to stink, that about covers all the bases for an in-season sacking.
Girardi certainly has his flaws and limitations. But writing off the former Yankees skipper as “Binder Joe” is a bit unfair.
This is his 14th season as a Major League manager. He’s only had two losing years. One was when dragged the Marlins to 78 wins and earned NL manager of the year honors. The other was the 2020 pandemic season and comes with an asterisk. If a few things broke his way, he may have won two World Series with the Yankees with completely different rosters. He led the Phils to their first winning season in a decade last year, albeit only at 82-80.
Girardi is a good manager. But is he the right manager for the Phillies? That is very much in question now. He probably does not have much time left to prove it.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]