Phillies manager Joe Girardi says he is not worried about his job security amid a losing stretch that has dropped Philadelphia 10½ games behind the New York Mets in the National League East.
The Phillies have lost 10 of their past 14 games and ended their seven-game road trip in disappointing fashion Sunday night, when they squandered a ninth-inning lead in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the rival Mets. With their three-game weekend series sweep, the Mets improved to 9-3 against Philadelphia this season.
Girardi, who is in the final year of his three-year deal with Philadelphia, said the loss was “extremely frustrating” but insisted he isn’t thinking about his future with the Phillies.
“I don’t worry about my job,” Girardi said. “I’ve never worried about my job. I don’t worry about my job. I’ve got to do my job. It’s the business of being a manager. I don’t worry about it.”
The Phillies are 21-27 despite a $233 million payroll — the fourth highest in the majors — and a roster featuring 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper, star catcher J.T. Realmuto, ace pitchers Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, and free-agent newcomers Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber.
Despite the lofty preseason expectations, the Phillies enter Monday closer to the last-place Nationals (18-31) in the NL East than the first-place Mets (32-17) after a 2-5 road trip that included two walk-off losses.
Castellanos’ three-run homer gave Philadelphia a 4-3 lead Sunday night, but struggling closer Corey Knebel surrendered Nick Plummer‘s tying homer in the ninth inning and Eduardo Escobar‘s winning double in the 10th.
“Good teams don’t do that,” Harper said. “Getting walked off twice in games we should have won. It’s tough — big homer, big homer and lose. It’s crushing.”
The loss came hours after The Philadelphia Inquirer published a report in which multiple Phillies players pondered a perceived lack of energy from fellow players this season.
Castellanos told the Inquirer he doesn’t “know how to describe the energy now, but it’s obviously not where it needs to be,” while veteran pitcher Kyle Gibson wondered whether the Phillies are bogged down by “expectations.”
“I think it looks like we are not having fun because the expectations are really high,” Gibson told the paper. “Even when you win a game, it’s easy to say, ‘Great, we won today, but we’re still 10 games off from where we want to be.’ I think that’s an attitude that has to be flipped.”
Girardi, however, said after Sunday’s loss that there “is fight in that room,” citing Castellanos’ go-ahead homer. Wheeler, who started Sunday and allowed three runs — only one earned — in six innings, said he is confident that the Phillies have enough talent to turn around their season.
“We have to continue to battle and keep grinding,” Wheeler told reporters. “Hopefully, things will turn around here soon. It’s got to be soon — I think we all know that. We all know the talent that we have here. We just have to do it.”
The Phillies return home Monday for the opener of a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants and former manager Gabe Kapler.
Harper said the Phillies need to “turn the page as quickly as possible” after Sunday’s loss and “get at San Fran” in order to climb out of their 10½-game deficit in the NL East.
“It’s a lot,” Harper said. “Everybody knows that. We just have to show up every day ready to play. The season is not over until we play 162.”