The Phillies are…fun again? It sure seems that way, as Philadelphia has won five in a row with the last two featuring dramatic late-game heroics. The vibe around the team seems more positive since Rob Thomson took over for Joe Girardi as manager. They’ve played well in almost every facet of the game since Girardi was removed. There’s still much work to be done to build a real contender, but all of a sudden, the Phillies are hot and 3.5 GB of a postseason spot.
It’s debatable whether the impact Thomson has had is from pushing the right buttons or simply not being named “Joe Girardi”, but there’s no denying that the team has performed better under his leadership. They’ve outscored opponents 29-11 in four games, they’ve dominated games from the jump, and they’ve staged epic rallies late to erase deficits. We are still less than a week into Thomson’s tenure as manager, but things are looking much more hopeful.
Stott struggled to find playing time under Girardi as the previous manager simply didn’t trust younger players, especially in big spots. Well, Stott proved all of that wrong when he smashed a walk-off, three-run home run on Sunday to sweep the Angels. It was his second career home run with the first coming two days earlier on Friday night, the first game after Girardi’s firing. Stott has an .894 OPS in the four games since Girardi’s dismissal and has started all four. He’s beginning to flourish now that he’s been given consistent playing time.
Maton was called up on June 1st due to the injury to Jean Segura and had a tremendous impact in just his two games played. He hit a two-run home run that brought the Phillies within one in the sixth inning against the Giants. A Kyle Schwarber two-run blast later in the inning would prove the difference in the first win of the Phillies current streak. In Maton’s second game, he went 1-2 with an RBI triple and robbed Mike Trout of a hit on a spectacular diving play at second. Unfortunately, Maton was injured on the play and has since been put on the IL.
Vierling was called back to the Majors on Tuesday after being demoted on May 11th. In a recurring theme, Vierling struggled early and then was benched for Odúbel Herrera and never really given another chance. Vierling played in just eight total games with 21 plate appearances after Herrera was activated on April 22nd. However, he is already making the most of his recent call-up, as he hit a solo home run off of Josh Hader in the ninth inning in Milwaukee to give the Phillies the lead.
Schwarber has four home runs in his last seven games with an OPS of 1.255. He has a 1.268 OPS overall in the month of June through five games. It appears the notorious slow starter (career .799 OPS in the first half) has finally started to find his footing. Schwarber’s 14 home runs are tied for fourth most in the majors and tied for second best in the N.L. behind Mookie Betts and Pete Alonso who both have 16.
Dominguez was last charged with a run on May 3rd. Since then, he’s pitched 11.1 scoreless innings across 11 appearances with 15 strikeouts and just six hits. Dominguez has allowed just four runs in 20 total appearances on the season with a 1.02 WHIP and 11.32 K/9. His fastball is back to its pre-injury life, averaging 97 but routinely touching 100 MPH. He’s in line to receive a promotion to the closer’s role.
BRYCE HARPER GRAND SLAM TIES THE GAME!!! pic.twitter.com/gPJH5tZlIe— Brodes Media (@BrodesMedia) June 5, 2022
He wasn’t the only problem plaguing the Phillies organization. But it sure seems like he was a rather large problem on his own.
“There’s a lot of star power on this team and it just felt like Joe didn’t connect. Nick Castellanos said he only had one or two conversations with Joe his entire time here… how? Rob Thomson is the the opposite of Girardi.”— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) June 8, 2022
Knebel barely hung on for a save Tuesday night after walking the bases loaded with two outs. The Phillies closer has struggled at limiting baserunners, as he’s allowed 19 hits and 14 walks in just 24 innings pitched. Knebel’s walk rate (13.6%) and strikeout rate (21.4%) are both the worst of his seven-year career. On top of allowing a plethora of baserunners, Knebel isn’t missing many bats. That’s a dangerous combination for a closer. A demotion from the closer’s role should be in his near future.
Bohm’s home run off of Hader to tie the game could be a sign of good things to come, but he’s been struggling mightily at the plate over the last few weeks. In fact, he’s hitting .180 with an OPS of .462 in 12 games over the last two weeks. Bohm has 15 strikeouts to just three walks over that span. In five games in June, Bohm is hitting .200 with an OPS of .588.
The Phillies’ sweep of the Angels appeared to have been the last straw, as Maddon was fired on Tuesday following a 12-game losing streak. That now makes the score Phillies 2, Joe Maddon 0.
0-11 with four strikeouts in three games in Philadelphia. Go Birds.
Mike Trout says he’s a big fan of the Eagles offseason, liked what Howie did in the draft and is excited to see AJ Brown and Jalen Hurts this season. pic.twitter.com/rzE10EMevW— Spencer McKercher (@swmckercher) June 3, 2022