The Phillies seem to have a game or two each season where they walk it off on a Sunday afternoon in their cream uniforms. Yesterday’s walk-off win against the Los Angeles Dodgers felt more like a sigh of relief than excitement about the win. The Phillies and Dodgers looked both to find as many reasons to not win the game and luckily for the Phils, the Dodgers’ won that minigame. The win meant that the Phils had won a series against the Dodgers, something they haven’t accomplished since 2018. This past week, the club went 2-4 on their two-series homestand and currently sit at a 19-22 record.
121 To Go
Following Sunday’s game, the Phillies have officially completed the first quarter of their schedule. The Phillies sit three games below the .500 mark and are lingering in the middle of the pack. The team is on pace to win just 75 games this season, which would be a massive failure. In all fairness to the club, they have played the 3rd hardest schedule in baseball thus far. Facing the Mets and Dodgers as often as the Phillies have this season would be a challenge for any team. This week, they take on their division rivals on the road in Atlanta and New York before coming home to face the Giants and Angels at home.
The Phillies will need to weather the storm for the rest of the first half of the season. While expectations were high going into this season and Phillies, fans demanded a return to the playoffs; the Phillies faithful need to be patient. Playing around .500 baseball or better until the All-Star break would be huge for the club.
The second half of the season is the easiest in baseball, and this team is assembled to go on a run. If we remember last season, the Phillies lingered in the middle of the NL East for much of the first half. The club caught some fire late and went on a run to dethrone the Mets at the top of the division. The Fightins could seemingly follow this trend but must not collapse in September for another consecutive season.
The Phillies moving on from Manager Joe Girardi is still a move I believe should be made. While the Phillies have played tough opponents, they have left wins on the board due to poor management and decision-making. The blown 7-1 lead in the ninth to the New York Mets is the cream of the crop in terms of some brutal losses so early into the 2022 season. Joe Girardi’s bullpen usage has been just as poor this season as in the previous two. The talent in the pen is much better than the previous seasons, and Joe’s insistence on using Jeurys Familia and Jose Alverado in high leverage spots continues to be frustrating.
The team seems like they rely on each other to get themselves going, and there always seems to be a lack of energy within this club. When things are going their way, the Phillies play an excellent brand of baseball. When the team struggles, they stay down, and it seems as though their manager cannot break their slumps. The Phillies need a guy who will fight for them no matter what. Joe Girardi finally showed some emotion and fight when he was ejected in Seattle, but accidentally brushing the umpire with his hand might be more of the reason for the ejection than the words he spoke. Joe is not the kind of guy who will wear his emotions on his sleeve, but on a team with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and Nick Castellanos, the Phillies manager needs to be someone who is not afraid to get in anyone’s face, including the players.
Baseball is a long season filled with ups and downs. The Phillies have not played their best brand of baseball yet, and the team is still finding itself. Fans should feel confident that Dave Dombrowski will make the right moves when the time comes. Whether it’s moving on from Joe Girardi, making a trade or two, or calling up a prospect, Dombrowski has shown that he knows what he is doing in his short tenure in Philadelphia. The Phillies are still right in the middle of the hunt, and as long as they continue to do so, there is no doubt that they can make the playoffs. If the Phils can make it to the All-Star break still in the race, I have all the faith that they can go on a run. For now, the team needs to maintain solid play and continue to gel as a unit.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola