Joe Girardi responds to criticism and Phillies fight

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NEW YORK – Joe Girardi isn’t used to losing.

But the Phillies are losing. They are 64-71 (0.474) in 135 games since taking over as a coach in 2020. Girardi, who has never had a losing season in 10 years as a Yankees coach, has navigated a minefield poor defense and relief throws during this time. The two injured the Phillies multiple times last week, including six missed saves in four games Wednesday through Saturday and costly mistakes in the final inning that led to three failed saves Friday and Saturday against the Mets at Citi Field.

Girardi’s in-game decisions have also come under closer scrutiny.

In that dreaded four-game streak last week, he threw David Hale on Wednesday at a critical location in the sixth inning of a 13-12 loss to the Nationals because he said four other relievers were missing. available. Six points came home while Hale was on the mound, including a grand slam with a pinch stroke. Hale was nominated for an assignment over the weekend and is no longer on the team. Girardi retired Zach Eflin on Saturday after a run in six innings and 82 shots. Eflin finished his seventh inning warm-up when Girardi went to the mound because he wanted Ranger Suárez to take on pinch hitter Jeff McNeil. The change caught everyone off guard, including Eflin. Suárez hit a home run equalizer two batters later.

“Look, there are a million moves you do every day in this game, right? Girardi said Sunday morning at Citi Field. “I mean, there are a million decisions you have to make per day. And whoever doesn’t, you’re going to be criticized. It’s like that. That’s the nature of the game. I don’t care. My decisions are based on a lot of homework that we do as a group. And then you make the decision and you live it.

“You also have to remember that the other team is actually trying, right? They get paid to beat whoever you throw out there.

The Phillies have 20 missed saves in 75 games. The franchise record is 25 in 162 games in 2004. Their save percentage (45.9%) is said to be the lowest in franchise history. They had a 47.8 save percentage in 2020, when they had the highest bullpen ERA in baseball in 90 years.

But Girardi said it was more than just a pitcher making a bad pitch. He is a pitcher who often has to throw too many shots.

“A lot of our mistakes over the past few days have been defensive,” Girardi said. “So, I mean, you can put him on the bullpen, but that was the defense. In every crucial round we had a mistake which led to points. The races lead to additional locations for the throwers. The pitchers don’t go that deep. The guys in the pen can’t go that often. You can’t just watch what he does to empower a baserunner. It changes a lot of things.

“Archie [Bradley] came the other day, right? An error led him to abandon a race. It’s a blown save. [José] Alvarado’s mistake led him to abandon a race. It’s a blown save. These guys were affected by the error.

Rhys Hoskins made a costly mistake that sparked a two-point rally in Héctor Neris’ breathless save on Saturday. Hoskins was working early Sunday morning on his defense with infield coach Juan Castro.

“They are working on it every day,” Girardi said of his infielders. “We live on fungos. We do everything to try to make sure they are as prepared as possible. We’re just in a little rut right now. But our defense has been tough all year. And it’s all amplified when you’re not scoring points. All. We lost 3-2, 2-1 and 4-3 [this weekend to the Mets]. “

Girardi pulled Eflin out on Saturday because the Mets hit McNeil to start the seventh. Lefties have 0.806 OPS against Eflin this season, compared to righties with 0.753 OPS against him. Suárez allowed a .352 OPS against lefties.

Girardi had no regrets on Sunday.

“A few days ago, everyone was like, ‘Well, what’s going on with Eflin?’ “Said Girardi. “Right? You know what I’m saying? Lefties, he’s obviously been a lot better against righties than lefties, hasn’t he? So I knew McNeil and [Billy] McKinney could strike and [Luis] Guillorme arrives. I just said, you know what? you have [Michael] Conforto to come. Now is the time to use Ranger.

“It’s no fun,” Girardi said. “I want to say, [the job] is fun, but sometimes it’s frustrating. But I’m the same guy everyday. I’m optimistic. I told the guys, it’s gonna change. Keep fighting, keep fighting. That’s all we can do.

In the meantime, Girardi knows he will be ripped apart whenever his moves don’t work. It’s the big leagues, after all. It’s a big deal.

The wins and losses are the only things that matter.

“It’s like that,” Girardi said. “So at the end of the day if you make a decision in the ninth inning and it doesn’t work, you’re going to be criticized.


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