Red-hot Phillies eye playoffs after ugly start, Joe Girardi’s firing


WASHINGTON – Kyle Gibson hasn’t been around for every last maddening tease provided by the Philadelphia Phillies the past five years, a period marked by glitzy acquisitions, managerial turmoil and a magnetic force that seems to pull star-studded squads back toward .500 every autumn.

Yet the veteran right-hander is jumping into his second pennant chase with the club after his July 2021 acquisition, and has seen enough to diagnose what he believes has ailed them – and portends better days ahead.

And after a disastrous start that saw multiple stars slump, manager Joe Girardi get fired and the club sink 12½ games back of the New York Mets in a rugged National League East, Gibson isn’t too proud to do a little math.

Or a lot of math.

“What would send us over the hump?” Gibson mused before the club swept a doubleheader from the reeling Washington Nationals. “In my time here, I don’t think we’ve won the games we should’ve won, against teams we should’ve beat. I think if we’re able to take care of those games, we’re fine.

“We don’t play the Dodgers any more. We don’t play the Brewers any more. We have a couple against the Giants and we’re going to be finished with the Padres after this trip. We’re almost done with the Mets already. And we have all our games left against the Nationals and most of our games against the Marlins, and the three teams in the (NL) Central that are struggling at the bottom.

“We have faced, and weathered, the storm of the schedule that we’re gonna have. And now I think we’re getting hot at the right time and it’s up to us to play and win the games we’re supposed to win.”

Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber reacts after hitting a double against the Washington Nationals.

Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Kyle Schwarber reacts after hitting a double against the Washington Nationals.

The storm, almost certainly, has passed. Despite spending $179 million to lure sluggers Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber to Philadelphia – and laying out $742 million for five players since the $330 million pact to lure Bryce Harper to Philly in 2019 – these Phillies sputtered badly. They lost eight of their first 12 games before a 3-10 stretch cost Girardi his job as Castellanos (.210 average the last three weeks of May) and Schwarber (.184 through 48 games) got off to unsteady starts.

Girardi’s dismissal, from both inside and out, seemed like a long exhalation. And since then, the Phillies have taken off.

They staged an eight-game winning streak immediately after bench coach Rob Thomson was promoted and are 13-2 overall since he was named interim manager. From 22-29 under Girardi, they’re now 35-31 overall.

There is so much chicken-and-egg with this Phillies team that to ascribe this hot streak to the new person in the manager’s chair – particularly in light…



Source link : sports.yahoo.com

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