215,940,543. That’s the number of dollars that John Middleton and the Philadelphia Phillies organization have committed to the payroll of the 2022 team. 9 players are earning $10mil or more to play baseball this year in Philadelphia. It is the highest salary numbers in both categories in the history of the franchise. Part of that is due to natural inflation, of course, but on a league scale, the Phillies are 4th in the majors in terms of money owed to players this season. So far, they might want their money back. This highly anticipated Phils squad, the one that added two premier bats this offseason and some veteran bullpen pieces, has now lost 8 of their last 10 games. They’ve lost 3 of their first 4 series this season, only winning their opening set with the lowly Oakland A’s, who had an attendance of 3,748 last night. It’s still early in the season, but this slide has gone long enough. The Philadelphia Phillies need to wake up, and they need to do it IMMEDIATELY.

So, how do they do that? Excellent question, I’m glad you asked. If I had the full answer for you, I would probably have a fast track to being the next manager of the Phillies. Unfortunately for my baseball prestige and my bank account, I don’t have the full answers. The bigger problem, though, is that the man in charge of the team currently doesn’t have enough answers. Joe Girardi continues to make questionable decisions this year, last night adding to his total by shifting the infield on Kris Bryant, turning a tailor-made double play into a hit that led to an inning that initially gave up the Phillies’ lead in the game. When the Phils took over the lead again on a Kyle Schwarber home run, Girardi followed it up by bringing in Jeurys Familia, who allowed a home run to CJ Cron that proved to be the difference in the game in favor of the Rockies. Finally, with the game on the line late, Girardi decided to pinch hit Bryson Stott (batting .133) for Matt Vierling, who had already tallied 2 hits on the night. The idea to get a lefty-righty matchup makes sense, and Vierling hasn’t exactly been hot himself, but it was another interesting decision that didn’t work out in favor of the Phils.

Girardi is not the only issue so far this year though. This team just finds new ways to lose every night, and you can’t place all the blame on the manager. The starting pitching doesn’t just fade out, they coast until they implode with either a big home run allowed or a blow up inning before the bullpen comes in. When the bullpen comes in, they’ve given little relief to the starters. As a result, your Fightin Phils have the 3rd worst ERA in all of baseball to this point at 5.16. What’s funny is that the offense actually hasn’t been all that bad. They’re 6th in the league in runs scored, 7th in batting average, and 9th in on base percentage. Those are absolutely respectable numbers, but the calling card of this team was supposed to be power. They’re only 13th in homers and 14th in RBIs, middle of the pack numbers for a non-middle of the pack payroll. The Miami Marlins stadium is not normally conducive to hitting, but the rest of the Phillies’ games so far have either been played at Citizens Bank Park or in Denver, Colorado, 2 noted hitters locations. So, does the manager need to be better? Absolutely, but so do his players.

It’s been a nightmare scenario so far for the Phillies in 2022, and luck doesn’t seem to be on their side. There are some concrete things that can change – smarter approaches at the plate, better starting pitching, shortening the list of bullpen options that can throw in tight games – but there’s also an element of chance that needs to start leaning this team’s way. Whatever needs to be done, though, it needs to be done quickly, or else changes will be made. A 10 year playoff drought has caused John Middleton to empty his wallet, and he will continue to make moves until his investment begins to pay off. Alec Bohm was right. Sometimes I f****** hate this place.