Struggling Phillies fire manager Joe Girardi before start of Angels series
Joe Girardi was fired by the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, becoming the first major league manager to lose his job this season.
Philadelphia said bench coach Rob Thomson will become interim manager for the rest of the season.
Expected to contend for an NL East title, the Phillies are 22-29 and 12 games behind the first-place New York Mets.
“It has been a frustrating season for us up until this point, as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “While all of us share the responsibility for the shortcomings, I felt that a change was needed and that a new voice in the clubhouse would give us the best chance to turn things around. I believe we have a talented group that can get back on track, and I am confident that Rob, with his experience and familiarity with our club, is the right man to lead us going forward.”
The Angels will play in Philadelphia for the first time since 2014, allowing fans from Mike Trout’s nearby hometown to celebrate his homecoming.
Girardi’s first year with Philadelphia was the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Phillies went 82-80 last year, and he ends his tenure with a 132-141 record. Girardi managed the New York Yankees from 2008-17 and the Florida Marlins in 2006.
The Phillies have lost 12 of 17 games heading into the opener of Friday’s three-game series against the Angels, who have lost eight straight games overall and six straight on the road.
The Phillies have a $224-million payroll and boast 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper and NL Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and free-agent sluggers Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber. Yet Philadelphia hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011, hasn’t won the World Series since 2008 and has watched fan interest plummet through a decade-plus of mediocre baseball.
“We underperformed and that falls on me. This is what happens,” Girardi told SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. “I think there’s more talent in that room than the way we have played.”
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