MLB - US Sports: What Next for Phillies and Angels?
Both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Angels have fired their managers over the past month in a bid to re-start their seasons.
Following a poor opening to the 2022 MLB season, the Phillies parted ways with Joe Girardi, while a record-breaking string of defeats saw the Angels cut ties with Joe Maddon.
Girardi had served as Philadelphia's manager for the past three seasons, while Maddon was hired by the Angels in 2020.
Girardi pays for slow start to 2022
Girardi was the New York Yankees manager the last time the Bronx Bombers won the World Series in 2009.
Things then went stale for Girardi in New York and he was looking for a new challenge after his contract wasn't renewed in 2017.
After spending a couple of seasons as an ESPN analyst, the Phillies and the Mets got in contact about leading the team. In the end the Phillies won the battle and Girardi set about trying to make Philadelphia into a franchise that once again was challenging for the playoffs.
The Phillies hadn't reached the playoffs since 2011 under manager Charlie Manuel, when they won the National League East Division but lost in the NL Division series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For a franchise with one of the biggest budgets in baseball (fourth in MLB according to spotrec.com) to not reach the playoffs, even via the wildcard for over 10 seasons is shocking.
To be fair to Girardi he had improved the side to finish in third in 2020 and second in 2021. However, following a poor start to this years’ campaign, (22-29) and with the NL reigning MVP in Bryce Harper, plus five 2021 All-Stars on the roster, the 57-year-old paid with his job.
Speaking to the official Phillies website, Harper said: "There’s blame on us as well. There's not just blame on Joe. We haven't played to the best of our ability. We haven't done the things to be the team we should be."
Girardi appeared on Sirius XM's MLB radio and was quite honest in his own appraisal of what went wrong: "We underperformed and that falls on me. This is what happens."
The Phillies under interim boss Rob Thomson then won nine consecutive matches to push their claims for a playoff place.
Since then they have lost Harper to a fractured thumb which could require possible season-ending surgery.
It's never dull with the Phillies, as they sit eight games back from NL East leaders New York Mets in third place, while they are priced at 29.00 to end 2022 with a World Series success.
We've not heard much from Girardi since his sacking, but it would be a surprise if he was out of work for long, he has too much knowledge in the game to be sitting on the sidelines.
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Maddon wants quick return
As for Joe Maddon, he revealed in a post-sacking interview which took place with Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, that he wants to get straight back into the game. "I'm really excited about my next opportunity, I want to manage, I'm really good at it."
Maddon won the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs, which ended a 108-year championship drought and was certainly a momentous occasion for the city of Chicago.
The 68-year-old had joined the Cubs from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 and quickly set about making Chicago into a formidable team.
Failing to build on that 2016 World Series win, the Cubs roster began to change quickly and Maddon was unable to forge a side capable of competing as the championship side did. His contract wasn’t renewed, which according to Maddon, was one-sided, as there were no negotiations for a new one.
The Los Angeles Angels hadn't reached the playoffs since 2014 when Maddon took over as manager at Angel Stadium.
Despite having MLB superstar Mike Trout on the roster and latterly switch-star Shohei Ohtani, the Angels still haven't reached the postseason. Indeed, in the two full seasons that Maddon was in charge, the Halos' appeared to get worse.
At the start of the 2022 season though, things were seemingly on an upwards curve for Maddon, as his side sat in second place on 24th May in the AL West, in a battle for first with the Houston Astros.
The Angels had just beaten the Texas Rangers 5-3, but what followed next was not in the script, as they had injuries to the likes of Trout, Ohtani and most importantly Anthony Renon.
Los Angeles proceeded to lose 14 games on the bounce (the longest in franchise history), Maddon was fired after 12 of those, and it just might be his last season as an MLB manager.
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