The Phillies wrapped up the 2021 season Sunday with a 5-4 loss to the Marlins to bring their final record 82-80. It is their first winning season since 2011. But it was their lineup in the finale that was yet another example of sheer incompetence from a manager that looked lost.
The lineup featured Odubel Herrera, Brad Miller, and Andrew Knapp. NOT Mickey Moniak, Matt Vierling, or Rafael Marchan. In a “nothing” game, instead of allowing some younger players to get some playing time Joe Girardi elected to go with three players that legitimately might not be in Philadelphia in 2022.
But it was the starter that drew my ire. Instead of allowing Adonis Medina to start the “nothing” game, he elected to go with yet ANOTHER bullpen game. Choosing Bailey Falter who the team had pitch out of the bullpen 22 times. Adonis Medina did pitch a scoreless 9th inning, but it was in relief. The last time Medina DIDN’T start a game was 2018 in the minors. Hes a starting pitcher. And for a team that desperately needs starters for next season it was organizational malpractice to waste this opportunity to see what Medina could do.
But throwing out a bullpen game to end the season is a PRIME example why Joe Girardi isn’t “IT”. Girardi, in his short stint in Philadelphia, has looked more out of touch and lost than you’d ever assume a former World Series winning manager to look. From his love of bullpen games, to his “I wish I knew how to quit you” loyalty to Didi Gregorius, it seems like 90% of the moves he made in 2021 were the wrong ones. And trying to get into the playoffs throwing out bullpen games for the last 2+ months of the season is QUITE the strategy….
Girardi found his scapegoats yesterday. He fired hitting coach Joe Dillon and infield instructor Juan Castro. Neither men really deserved to keep their job. The bats went silent in key times. And under Castro’s tutelage the Phillies had the worst infield defense in the league. But the defensive woes didn’t stop with the infield, it was the whole team. Defensively this team did not look like a Major League club.
The Phillies WASTED an MVP season from Bryce Harper and a likely top 3 finisher in the Cy Young voting from Zach Wheeler. Harper tried to drag the Phillies into the post season kicking and screaming but the streak of post season-less baseball continues.
Now you may be saying “YoU PrObAbLy WaNtEd GaBe KaPlEr FiReD.” And while I wasnt calling for his firing, I didnt necessarily have a problem with the move at the time. But the big difference with Kapler and Girardi was the pedigree. We, as a fan base, were sold on a manager who was a proven winner. A former player who embraced analytics. What we got was a man who looks like it wasnt HIS choice as to why he didn’t find a job right after being fired by the Yankees. He looked completely lost and befuddled at times as to how to fix mistakes, and stop bad stretches. He instilled absolutely no confidence what so ever and appeared like the game had somehow passed him by. Gabe Kapler was a complete unknown. Gabe Kapler was the 2020’s version of Terry Francona. A man who got his feet wet in Philly, learned from his mistakes, and rectified it in his second stop.
Joe Girardi has to go. Period. If a manager can win you 5-10 games a year, then I would argue that Joe Girardi lost you 5-10 games. Philadelphia was sold a bill of goods. The organization bought a lemon. Rectify the mistake.