Joe Girardi, the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, has been fired after a 22-29 start.

Joe Girardi was in charge of a Phillies team that included the reigning National League MVP, five 2021 All-Stars, a payroll that was above the luxury tax threshold, and the hope of ending the National League’s longest playoff drought.

With a sagging bullpen, defensive deficiencies, and slumbering starts from some of the team’s high-priced veterans, Girardi paid the price for Philadelphia’s poor start, buried deep in the NL East standings. He was fired on Friday after failing to turn a team with a record payroll into a playoff contender, making him the first major league manager to be fired this season.

At the time, the Phillies were 22-29, having dropped seven of their previous nine games and sitting third in the National League East, 12 games behind the New York Mets and 512 games out of the second NL wild-card spot.

Rob Thomson, the bench coach, was named interim manager and won his first game, a 10-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

“I believe we have a chance to make the playoffs. I believe we are in a position to fight back and accomplish that. That is something I believe “Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations, stated.

That is a belief held by only a few Philadelphia sports fans.

It’s for good reason. The Phillies have dropped 12 of their last 17 games heading into the first game of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.

Bryce Harper stated, “There’s blame on us as well.” “Joe isn’t the only one to blame. We haven’t performed to our full potential. We haven’t taken the necessary steps to become the team we should be.”

Girardi made his regular appearance on Sirius XM’s MLB Network Radio after the Phillies’ announcement, saying, “We underperformed, and I am to blame. This is how it goes.” The “number of reasons we didn’t win,” according to Girardi, include struggles in the bullpen and some slow offensive starts.

“I think you can overcome one thing, maybe two,” Girardi said, “but when it’s more than that, I think it’s a little more difficult.” “… I just hope they get better and make the playoffs.”

The Phillies had high hopes for Harper, who was slowed for most of the season by right arm issues that forced him to play first base. The Phillies will be led by Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, and free-agent sluggers Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber to their first postseason appearance since 2011.

Jean Segura is out for three months with a broken finger, and third baseman Alec Bohm, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and corner outfielders Castellanos and Schwarber have all been defensive liability.

Since Angels slugger and New Jersey native Mike Trout partied in the Citizens Bank Park parking lots in 2008, the Phillies haven’t won the World Series. The Phillies have seen their fan base dwindle over the last decade, thanks to lazy summers and little hope of making the playoffs. The chances haven’t worked out. Underachievement has been a problem for free agents.

“By no means am I claiming that we’ve done everything correctly,” said Hoskins. “We haven’t, of course. We probably wouldn’t be having this discussion otherwise. However, at the end of the day, it’s all about the numbers. The outcomes must improve.”

Since firing 2008 World Series champion Charlie Manuel in 2013, the Phillies have gone through five managers. Gabe Kapler was fired after leading the San Francisco Giants to a 107-55 record and the playoffs last season after leading them to a 161-163 record in two seasons.

Dombrowski stated, “It’s not something that can’t be fixed and changed.” “I believe we started some of those changes this winter when we made a lot of changes within our system, our organization, but those things don’t happen overnight.”

Girardi, 57, led the Phillies to a 132-141 record in his three seasons as manager. The pandemic-shortened 2020 season was his first with Philadelphia. Last season, the Phillies finished 82-80, eight games out of a wild-card berth.

Girardi is a 14-year major league manager with the Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies, with a record of 1,120-935 and a World Series championship with New York in 2009.

Bobby Meacham, a coaching assistant who joined the team in 2020 with Girardi, was also fired on Friday. Mike Calitri, a former quality assurance coach, has been promoted to bench coach.

Thomson spent the previous five seasons as the bench coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and was in charge of spring training. He was hired prior to the start of the 2018 season. From 1985 to 1988, he played in the minor leagues, then became a minor league coach for the Yankees in 1990, then joined Joe Torre’s big league coaching staff in 2004 and remained a coach under Girardi.

His first game will be against the Angels, who have dropped eight straight games overall and six straight on the road.

“I’ve spent a lot of time studying championship clubs, and I truly believe there are pieces here to make a very good club,” Thomson said.

Since leaving Washington and signing a $330 million, 13-year contract, Harper has already had three managers in his fourth season with the Phillies. Harper has mostly kept his end of the bargain, and now he’s waiting for the Phillies to follow suit.

“In the last 11 years, I believe this is my eighth or ninth manager. It’s insane, “Harper stated his opinion. “Coming into a new manager and things like that is just another day for me. I’m excited to work with Thomps, and I’m hoping to start a streak today since we don’t have much time.”

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