By Connor Thomas
Last night the Phillies fell to the Diamondbacks 3-2 in the opening game of a 3 game series out in Arizona. Yes, that’s right, the 42 games under .500, 39 games back in the NL West Arizona Diamondbacks. But don’t bring it up to Joe Girardi, because he made it very clear during his postgame availability last night that he doesn’t care about the level of competition the Phillies are up against.
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) August 18, 2021
Clearly Girardi was frustrated about another reporter bringing up the fact that the Phillies have the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the entirety of Major League Baseball. Despite this undisputed fact, apparently the Phils manager does not see the benefit of playing some of the lowest of the low teams over the home stretch of the season. Maybe it’s because his team has been bad against bad teams so far over the 2021 campaign. The Phillies are just 29-27 this year against teams that are currently under .500, and of the 7 sub-.500 teams they have faced (Mets, Nationals, Marlins, Cubs, Pirates, Rockies, Diamondbacks) they have a winning record against only two of them: the Nationals and the Cubs. That’s flat out unacceptable for a team with aspirations of winning a division.
Despite what Joe Girardi would tell you, having the easiest schedule in baseball is a distinct advantage in a playoff race like the one the Phillies are in, and to treat it like it is something that is irrelevant is mind boggling. It is the job of the manager of a baseball team to put the team in the best position to win games, and clearly to some extent Girardi has failed in that regard against some of the worst teams in baseball. The Phillies better hope that they start taking advantage of the incredibly easy schedule that their manager wants to ignore, or else they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in come October.