Phillies, Joe Girardi better start winning soon

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PHILADELPHIA — It’s been a trying 15 days for the Phillies.

With Monday’s 5-4 home loss to the Giants in 10 innings, they’ve dropped 11 of their last 15 to reach seven games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2017 season (66-96). Many of the defeats were brutal. The bullpen, defense and some decisions by manager Joe Girardi factored into the Phillies’ struggles.

With the Phils less than 50 games into a 162-game schedule, things are going to have to change soon if they plan to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011 – even with the field expanded to three wildcard teams on top of that. to the three division champions.

3-year-old Jeff McNeil of the Mets celebrates his three-run home run with teammate Francisco Lindor as Phillies’ JT Realmuto looks on in New York’s 8-2 win on Saturday.

That’s not what managing partner John Middleton had in mind when he authorized the luxury tax payment to sign Nick Castellanos for $100 million over five years after signing with the free agent. Kyle Schwarber a four-year, $79 million deal in the offseason.

With another bad week, Girardi’s job could be in jeopardy and his seat could get hotter. The Phillies declined to take his fourth-year option, so his contract expires after this season.

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Asked about his job security after Saturday’s loss, Girardi replied: “I don’t worry about my job. I never worry about my job.”

The Phils’ 21-28 unproductive drafts and poor player development are two reasons why they find themselves in this predicament. The director also bears some of the blame.

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Sunday night’s crushing 5-4 loss to the Mets that completed a three-game sweep by New York consisted of a defensive error that cost the Phillies a pair of first-inning runs and a blown third save by Corey Knebel more close.

With runners on first and third base and no one coming out, first baseman Rhys Hoskins lined up a ground ball and threw to second base, where shortstop Johan Camargo came out of the bag to throw home too late to get lead runner Luis Guillorme at home plate. That left one runner, second a run through and still no out. That run was earned, but starter Zack Wheeler’s next two weren’t as Hoskins received an error on the play.

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Castellanos gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead with a three-run homer in the eighth inning, only for Knebel to give up the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on a Nick Plummer solo homer. The Mets beat Knebel in the 10th on Eduardo Escobar’s RBI double, marking the Phils’ third loss in the past 15 days.

Although he insists effort isn’t the issue with the Phillies, he admitted on Monday that “when you’ve been through some tough times that we’ve had and some of the excruciating losses that we’ve had, it’s not is not pleasant.”

Poor fundamentals, lack of communication and other recurring issues continue to drive the Phillies’ losses.

On May 24, a Ronald Acuna Jr. ninth-inning fly ball came out of center fielder Roman Quinn’s glove when neither he nor right fielder Castellanos went for the ball near the fence with Nick Nelson inexplicably throwing a second frame. Atlanta won it 6-5 when follow-on hitter William Contreras singled out a Bryce Harper home run that had given the Phillies a one-run lead.

Rinse. Repeat.

“No matter how you lose, it stings,” Hoskins said. “We lose tough games. We lose in weird ways (and) lose late. But that’s what it is – a loss. It stinks. But we just have to find a way to prepare to play tomorrow.”

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“We went through a grueling two and a half weeks and we suffered some really tough losses,” Girardi said. “They will answer.”

Knebel gave up a home run to Brandon Crawford of the Giants in the ninth inning Monday to put the Phils behind 3-2 in a game in which the Phils were leading 2-0 at home runs in Castellanos and Hoskins. Schwarber tied it at 3-3 with a home run in the ninth, only for a two-run homer by Curt Casali off Andrew Bellatti to give San Francisco the lead for good.

“We’ve got too many good players and too many good pitchers to go wrong,” Gibson said. “That is the basis of my belief.”

The Phillies have been 10 games away from first place in the National League East just twice before in the 21st century – in 2000 and 2017. They have failed to win 70 games in each of those seasons.

Monday’s setback moved the Phils 11 games behind the Mets, which is a lot. The onus would be on Girardi that this number does not continue to rise.

Tom Moore: [email protected]; @TomMoorePhilly

This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Phillies, Joe Girardi better start winning soon

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