June 3 (UPI) — The Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Joe Girardi amid a 22-29 start to the 2022 season, the team announced Friday. Bench coach Rob Thomson will assume the role of interim manager for the National League East franchise.
“It has been a frustrating season for us up until this point, as we feel that our club has not played up to its capabilities,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a news release.
“While all of us share the responsibility for the shortcomings, I felt that a change was needed and that a new voice in the clubhouse would give us the best chance to turn things around.”
The Phillies sit in third place in their division, 12 games behind the first-place New York Mets. They lost seven of their last nine games. They went 11-11 in April. They posted a 10-18 record in May, which they ended with five-consecutive losses.
The Phillies owned the fourth-highest payroll in MLB in each of the last two seasons. They rank 10th in batting average, 9th in home runs and 18th in ERA so far this season. Phillies starters rank 14th in ERA, while relief pitchers rank 21st in the same category.
The Phillies bullpen is the third-least-used in the National League.
“I believe we have a talented group that can get back on track, and I am confident that Rob, with his experience and familiarity with our club, is the right man to lead us going forward,” Dombrowski said.
Girardi, 57, posted a 132-141 record in parts of three seasons as Phillies manager. He led the team to an 82-80 record in 2021. The former New York Yankees and Florida Marlins manager took over as the Phillies manager in 2020. He led the team to a 28-32 record during that pandemic-shortened campaign.
The Phillies last playoff appearance came in 2011, when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in a National League Division Series. Thomson served as the team’s bench coach for the past five seasons. The Phillies also fired assistant coach Bobby Meachem, in addition to Girardi.
Quality assurance coach Mike Calitri was promoted to bench coach.
“I am extremely excited for this opportunity and I appreciate the confidence Dave has shown in me,” Thomson said of his new role as interim manager. “Having said that, this is an emotional day for me, having worked so closely with Joe for so many years.
“This has been my home now for the last five years and I care deeply about this franchise, this city, our players, our coaches, our staff and our fans. I am ready to lead this team and look forward to getting to work and turning this around.”
The Phillies will host the Los Angeles Angels (27-25) at 7:05 p.m. EDT Friday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.