Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi was especially upset at his team’s defensive performance Saturday night, and that frustration boiled over into both Sunday’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, and the manager’s postgame media session.
Jean Segura, perhaps the Phillies best fielder, had a miscommunication with Nick Maton on a fly ball Saturday, which allowed the ball to drop in between the two. Still, Segura entered Sunday with two defensive runs saved, the only Phillies regular with a positive mark in that regard. (Odúbel Herrera – who has zero defensive runs saved – is the only other regular not underwater in terms of defensive runs saved.)
Nonetheless, tensions flared between Girardi and Segura in the dugout after the infielder made another error in the top of the first inning, one of two defensive misplays the usually sure-handed infielder Sunday. Third base coach Dusty Wathan and catcher J.T. Realmuto ultimately came over and got in between the two, though Girardi had already walked away from a visibly upset Segura:
After the game, Girardi was unwilling to discuss the exchange with Segura.
“That’s a bench conversation, meant for the bench,” Girardi said sternly. When an attempt to follow up was made, Girardi cut off the question and repeated the same answer.
Even if Girardi was unwilling to discuss what he and Segura talked about that left the two-time All-Star clearly angry, he was asked if the two have moved past the dispute, or whether a conversation still needs to take place.
“That’s my job.”
A third reporter attempted to get Girardi to open up about the topic, but didn’t get a chance to finish his question before the manager made clear he didn’t intend to dive any deeper on the topic.
“You can ask all you want, you got everything you’re going to get about it. Alright, I’m done with it. I know you’re doing your job, but that’s it.”
Finally, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia – the longest-tenured and probably most respected Phillies beat writer – attempted to get answers on the situation, asking if the exchange between the two was a conversation or confrontation.
Salisbury followed up by asking about the optics of the situation.
As Salisbury attempted to ask the question in another way, he was cut off.
“Jimmy, I’m not gonna talk about it, next question. If you’ve got a baseball question, ask me a baseball question.”
Before the session moved on to the next question, Salisbury responded by saying that his question was a baseball question, at which point Girardi asked if anyone else had a question.
It isn’t abnormal for tensions to flare in a situation like this where it’s the end of a long road trip, you’re playing in the heat of Florida and you get down early in a game where you are undermanned. However, the postgame response – all of which took place in less than four minutes – makes you wonder what things are like in the clubhouse currently.
Chase Anderson, who started Sunday’s game, said that he wasn’t paying attention to the disagreement because he was locked into trying to steer the ship back on course after a difficult first inning.
The Phillies don’t have a captain, but if they did, it would probably be Rhys Hoskins. The 28-year-old was the other player made available via Zoom after the loss.
“I didn’t actually see it. Obviously we heard it, but it’s heat of the moment stuff,” Hoskins said. “We’re all competing, everybody in the dugout wants to win the same amount and sometimes that’s what happens.”
Is there any concern that this seeming frustration will carry over beyond Sunday?
“It’s always frustrating to lose,” Hoskins continued. “We battled today, and it’s always not fun to lose those games. So, yeah, I’m sure we were frustrated today. I don’t know if overall we are frustrated, but today, sure. But we’ll move onto home and go from there.”
- Elsewhere, Andrew Knapp was scratched about 20 minutes prior to the start of Sunday’s game with a ribcage issue. With J.T. Realmuto out with a left hand injury that he suffered in Saturday’s loss, that forced Rafael Marchan to start. Given that Scott Kingery is the emergency catcher – and started in right field, before leaving the game – it’s unclear who would have caught if Marchan got injured.
- Speaking of Kingery, he was replaced by Bryce Harper in the bottom of sixth. Girardi said after the game that Kingery, who did crash into the right field wall at least once Sunday, was dizzy, and hinted that he needed to be evaluated for a concussion.
- In terms an injured Harper coming into the game Sunday, it still isn’t exactly clear what he was capable of. Harper has dealt with a few minor injuries in 2021, the latest of which was a right shoulder injury that forced him to leave Saturday’s game, and not be in the initial lineup Sunday. Girardi said that when Harper popped up a bunt with two runners on base, down by five runs in the eighth inning, it was him attempting to reach base on a hit. With two outs in the ninth inning, Harper swung away in an attempt to tie the game, before ultimately striking out. Girardi acknowledged after the game that he was “concerned” with Harper swinging (although that was the plan agreed to by all parties before the at-bat), and that the six-time All-Star is probably “a little sore” after taking some healthy cuts.
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