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Joe Girardi and the Phillies are running out of time
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Joe Girardi and the Phillies are running out of time

Phillies photo to for B1 for Tuesday, Sept. 14

Phillies manager Joe Girardi walks to the dugout after pulling pitcher Ian Kennedy during the ninth inning of a game against the Rockies on Thursday. If the Phillies fail to make the playoffs for the 10th straight year, Girardi’s job could be in jeopardy.

When it comes to the Phillies, manager Joe Girardi has lost his sense of humor.

Philadelphia (72-71) began Monday 4.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. The Phillies were 2.5 games back of the NL’s second wild-card spot. Philadelphia, which will begin a three-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, dropped three of four games to the Colorado Rockies this weekend.

“It stunk, it stunk, it stunk,” Girardi said Sunday of the Rockies series. “There’s no other way to describe it. It stunk.”

That pronouncement came after Girardi criticized the team for its lackluster player after Friday’s 11-2 loss to Colorado.

It appears that Phillies’ lack of talent and their subpar play are finally catching up with them. It is likely now that the team will extend its streak of not making the postseason since 2011.

The Phillies simply have too many players having bad years. Third baseman Alec Bohm was sent to the minor leagues last month with a .342 slugging percentage. Shortstop Didi Gregorius has a .277 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage. Catcher J.T. Realmuto has a .434 slugging percentage, his worst mark since 2016.

Only Bryce Harper with a batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage slash line of .304/.421/.611 and Rhys Hoskins (27 home runs, 71 RBIs) have met or exceeded expectations. Hoskins has been out for the season since last month with an abdominal injury.

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“We’ve had guys that have not had the years that we expected them to have,” Girardi said. “We know that they’re capable of having it. It’s frustrating. You know, there’s other spots that we have struggled in as well. It’s not just the left side of the infield. It’s hard to be consistent when you have that. You need production up and down your lineup to consistently win. And that’s something that we struggled with this year.”

The Phillies’ slim playoff hopes rest with their schedule. Ten of Philadelphia’s remaining 19 games are against the Cubs (65-79), Baltimore Orioles (46-97) and Pittsburgh Pirates (52-91).

But the Phillies — as they proved over the weekend against the Rockies (66-78) — are sure bets against no one.

“These teams out here aren’t necessarily playing for anything, so they’re playing a little looser,” Realmuto said after Sunday’s loss. “Sometimes, it can actually be a bit harder to play teams like this late in the season because they don’t have any pressure on them. They’re just going out, playing and having fun. I feel like us as a whole, we’re putting a little pressure on ourselves and playing tighter than normal because we know we have ground to make up and we’re running out of time.”

If and when the Phillies do run out of time, there will be ramifications for missing the postseason.

One of the most interesting questions will be Girardi’s fate. He enters the final year of his contract in 2022. There is a club option for 2023. Will the Phillies pick up the option? Will Girardi return as a lame-duck manager?

Those are questions teams that miss the playoffs are forced to answer.

“It’s go-time now,” Realmuto said. “We don’t have any more time to waste. We can’t have anymore splitting series, losing series. We have to win every series the rest of the season. We have to sweep a couple of them to catch the Braves.”

“We’ve had guys that have not had the years that we expected them to have." Joe Girardi, Phillies manager

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