By Connor Thomas
Well, we almost made it 10 days since Joe Girardi had a questionable moment as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Back on May 17th, Girardi and Jean Segura had to be separated after a confrontation of some sort in the dugout during a game with the Toronto Blue Jays. Now, on the 26th, we’ve already got our next controversy from the Phils’ skipper. Yesterday afternoon, the team placed Bryce Harper on the 10 day IL retroactive to 5/23. This has not been an uncommon occurrence for the Phillies this season, as injuries have certainly plagued the major league roster. What was uncommon about Harper being placed on the IL, and the retroactive date, was that on Monday, May 24th, Joe Girardi sat his star Right Fielder for a 2nd straight game, but claimed there was nothing injury related going on there. Girardi claimed he “went to bed last night, woke up this morning and I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to give him another day”. Not “I’m going to let him heal” or “his arm is still bothering him”. And yet, now on the 26th of May, we know that Bryce Harper was clearly injured on the 23rd, 24th, 25th and is still hurt today as he sits on the IL. Girardi blatantly lied to the media and fan base alike, since claiming it was an attempt to keep a competitive advantage of some sort. As if other teams would be throwing at Harper’s injured arm if they knew he was hurt? It’s a feeble excuse for a manager who was forced to be caught in a lie. This is a terrible look for Girardi, who already has a growing list of inexcusable mistakes from this season. Let’s review:
So far this year, Girardi has…
• Had to pull a pitcher mid at bat because he forgot he was using his 2nd mound visit
• Went to the bullpen to put in a pitcher who wasn’t on the lineup card
• Didn’t pinch hit for his pitcher with the bases loaded and then pulled that pitcher 6 pitches into the next inning
• Had to have a player physically restrained from him after an argument in the dugout
• And now, has been caught in a clear lie about the health of his star player
Let me make something clear; I’ve been a huge fan of Joe Girardi. I was ecstatic when he became the manager of the Phillies, so I take no joy in ripping him apart like this once every other week. Unfortunately, though, his incidents this season are impossible to ignore, especially considering the slide his team is currently on. It’s starting to make me doubt my initial joy in hearing that Girardi would be manning the dugout in Philly. I hope I’m wrong, but the evidence is piling up to the contrary.
What’s worse is that the previous issues have come in the heat of a game situation. Even the Segura argument was during a game. This was a premeditated decision to lie to the media and the fans about the health of a man who still has a decade left on his contract and is the face of his franchise.
None of the prior offenses were excusable, but at least Girardi still had the chance to bounce back in the next game. Now, how can we be expected to believe him to the level that we previously did? A breach of trust, especially in Philadelphia, can be a kiss of death even for the most proven of managers and players. Until this point in the season, the hope was that the Phillies would catch fire and win a couple games in a row to near the top of the NL East again. Now, the hope is simply that Girardi can string 2 weeks together without putting his foot in his mouth. It’s a low bar for a team that desperately needs to raise theirs if they want to be playing meaningful baseball in September.