I’m really getting sick of writing Joe Girardi hit pieces. I don’t enjoy railing on the Phillies’ skipper, but the truth of the matter is that he’s holding this team back. He lost the Phillies the game on Tuesday night, plain and simple. Girardi chose not to intentionally walk Joc Pederson in the eleventh inning, and that was their demise.
I’ve already said enough about Joe Girardi’s ineptitude. He leaves pitchers in too long. He doesn’t play the right matchups out of the bullpen. He refuses to bend his “no pitching three games in a row” rule, even when it’s a no-brainer. For a well-respected baseball man and former World Series champion as both a player and manager, Joe Girardi really doesn’t bring much to the table.
Girardi’s fatal flaw of bullpen management was on full display on Tuesday night against the Giants. He brought in wild pitch specialist Jeurys Familia in the tenth inning. Shocker, Familia allowed the go-ahead run. He was also bailed out by his defense later in the inning to keep it a one-run ballgame. Familia was flat out awful. He failed to cover first base on Joc Pederson’s RBI single, and allowed far too much traffic in the form of three hits and a walk.
What’s even more frustrating is that this was the one time this season when Girardi bent his three straight days rule. Familia had two short outings on Sunday and Monday, tossing four and nine pitches, respectively. Familia clearly wasn’t gassed from that workload, and there’s nothing wrong with throwing him a third day in a row. Girardi said so himself in his post game presser, stating, “He’d only thrown like 15 pitches the last two days. He said he felt good… his work was pretty easy.” I agree with this thought process, however, the problem lies in Girardi’s selective enforcement of his asinine rule.
Exactly one week ago, when the Phils were up 5-4 against the Braves, Girardi refused to deploy closer Corey Knebel in the bottom of the ninth, instead allowing Nick Nelson to pitch a second inning, and the Braves walked it off. After the game, Knebel acknowledged that he wanted the ball, but was told to stand down, saying, “That’s his rule. That’s it. No three days in a row for relievers this early in the season.” The question begs to be asked: why was this rule so hard and fast seven days ago, but now all of a sudden it’s malleable? Such is life under Joe Girardi. There is no consistency or sound logic. We’re stuck with an out of touch man bumbling his way through the season, hoping he can pick up a few lucky breaks along the way. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that the Phillies are anything but lucky.
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Anyway, back to Tuesday night. Alec Bohm tied things up with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame, and Girardi called upon last night’s loser Andrew Bellatti to keep the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the eleventh. Bellatti promptly surrendered an RBI double to Donovan Walton to give the Giants the lead. After setting down Thairo Estrada and Wilmer Flores, Bellatti faced Joc Pederson with two outs and a runner on second. This is where Girardi completely scuttled the Phillies’ chances.
Pederson had already given the Giants the lead the inning before with an infield single, and has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball this season. Coming into today’s contest, Pederson held a spectacular .932 OPS. Obviously, this is not the man you want to be facing with the game on the line. And yet, with a base open, Joe Girardi chose to roll the dice.
In typical Phillies fashion, the game was blown open, as Pederson crushed a monster two-run shot into the second deck in right field to make it a 7-4 game. There was no hope after that. The Phils couldn’t get a run across in the bottom of the eleventh as they dropped their fifth straight contest.
There are a few bad guys here. Jeurys Familia gifted the Giants a run when he didn’t cover first base on Pederson’s infield single. Andrew Bellatti let San Francisco blow the doors off, and wound up on the hook for the loss. But, as usual, the worst offender is Joe Girardi. If he walks Pederson in the top of the eleventh, the Giants likely don’t score another run. And in a 5-4 game the Phillies have a much better chance to win or tie it. But, Girardi is inept. Everyone knew that walking Pederson was the right call. The announcers knew it, the fans knew it, and the players knew it. The only person who couldn’t figure this one out was Joe Girardi.
The Phillies have no chance to win the division this season. And at this rate they’re pretty much toast for a wild card spot too. However, if they want to make a real run at the playoffs, they can’t do it with Joe Girardi at the helm. I’m not sure who the right man is for the job, but I know it isn’t Joe Girardi.