Phillies Mailbag: Changing the Manager, Second Base, Future
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Tune in Tuesday afternoons at 2:40 to year your question answered.
What is actually different between Joe Girardi and Rob Thomson so far? Did this wake up the team?
Changing the manager, whether the players necessarily were on board with him or not, usually has some effect. No matter who it is, it's an occasion when players get to look inward at themselves. Was I partially responsible for someone losing their job?
Further, it's a signal that a major league season has somehow been lost. Does this mean that the team is so far out of it that they had to give up?
These could create a sense of urgency for a player.
Rob Thomson is a well-respected baseman man who has spent 38 games as a coach in baseball. Remember, besides being reunited with Joe Girardi in 2022, Thomson also spent two years under Gabe Kapler. He's been around for the whole Bryce Harper tenure, and I would assume there is trust there, or else they would not have turned to him.
One thing I can say: Thomson does not seem to be shy about using young players. It has paid dividends so far.
Thomson's first lineup had Mickey Moniak, Nick Maton, and Bryson Stott all hitting in a row. Despite batting 7-8-9, all three contributed to a big Phillies first inning en route to a 10-0 victory.
Girardi seemed skittish to play Stott over Johan Camargo in recent weeks, and his bat never took off. Stott had two key home runs this week. Demonstrating some confidence in the young players just might get them moving in the direction their talent is.
So which SS gets moved to 2nd? Hope Bryson Thomson leaves Bryson Stott alone and uses Didi Gregorius on the right side. Bryson will be here next year so don’t mess with him.
The Phillies have certainly had a bad week in the second base department. Within that span they lost Jean Segura to a fracture in his hand. Then it was Nick Maton to a sprained shoulder. Sunday was Johan Camargo's turn to injure his knee running to first base.
To cover the last inning, interim manager turned to Didi Gregorius, who was only going to be used in an emergency situation. That happened.
Gregorius ended up having a key hit and scored one of the runs in the stunning come-from-behind 9-7 Phillies victory.
I think that the infield will lineup just as it did on Sunday: Gregorius will play shortstop and Stott second base. However, I'm not convinced that this is something for you to worry about.
The scouting reports on Stott have long read that they expect him to be a second baseman long-term. In the minor leagues he has spent time at second base each season. It's not something foreign to him; this is much unlike third base for him early this season.
Should the Phillies be without Camargo on their roster, the Phillies could turn to Yairo Munoz to fill the void. Munoz plays around the diamond and has been hitting .317 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Scott Kingery is batting just .185 and may not be an option.
So where do the 2022 Phillies go from here? Are the Phillies really still in it for anything?
The three-game sweep and winning of four games in a row is certainly a good start for the 2022 Phillies. But they need to do much more. The Atlanta Braves have woken up and finally have a winning record. The Phillies have some climbing to do.
We've been through this before in 2021, but it did not really matter much: The Phillies schedule significantly eases up in June. The Phillies faced a falling Angels team. But after the upcoming Milwaukee series and before they face the Padres in San Diego on the 23rd, they will play 11 games in a row against teams with losing records.
The Phillies seemed to mostly keep it together against Milwaukee in Philadelphia, so hopefully they can go on a bit of a run.
The Phillies picked up some room on the Wild Card Chase, but many teams remain ahead of them. The Phillies simply just need to win games and try to get into a position where they can strike one of the Wild Cards. Last year their 82 wins would have gotten one. But I would think it could take a few more games than that this year.
Can the Phillies win 85 games? That would mean they need to go 60-48.
And to do so they would have win games with the flaws that they have. Those flaws have not gone away. I would expect they re-surface later. Ideally they would take care of business in June and the Phillies would feel good about making acquisitions at the trade deadline to address some of those issues.