Entering the month of June, the Philadelphia Phillies were 21-29, 12.5 games back in the division and six games back of a Wild Card spot.
Things were looking bleak for Philadelphia, who had just went over the luxury tax for the first time in team history in March, acquiring sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.
They certainly weren't looking like the offensive-heavy lineup that had been promised entering the season, as their run differential was just +1.
On June 1, though, the Phillies' luck started to turn. They won their first of a nine-game winning streak. And two days later, on June 3, they fired manager Joe Girardi. Bench coach Rob Thomson, who had been with the club since 2018, took over as interim manager.
At first, the move was questioned. Thomson had been Girardi's right-hand man dating back to their time with the New York Yankees, so it begged the question of how much different their managerial styles would be. But, the 59-year-old has went out and proved any doubters wrong.
In fact, he's fared better than perhaps anybody would have expected.
Since becoming manager, he's led the Phillies to a 42-20 record, their best across a 60-game stretch since 2011, and are on pace to win 90+ games. The way Philadelphia has played under his leadership should not only put him into consideration as permanent manager of the club, but as National League Manager of the Year.
During his tenure, Philadelphia has done a complete 180 both offensively and defensively, and fundamentally cleaned up their game. They are no longer beating themselves; They've quickly became a well-rounded, smart baseball team.
Since June 1, the Phillies' starting rotation has a 3.43 ERA, the bullpen has a 3.71 ERA, and the offense has the seventh-best OPS in the majors at .757, fifth-best slugging percentage at .441, and improved their run differential to +74.
While the stats reflect the Phillies' turnaround, the overall attitude and chemistry of the team supports it as well. They are having fun. And after their 4-3 comeback win over Sandy Alcantara and the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night, something feels special with this team. Magical, a feeling that hasn't surrounded baseball in Philadelphia for quite some time.
“That’s what it’s going to be like if we get to the postseason,” Kyle Schwarber told Matt Gelb of The Athletic following the win. “It’s good pitching in the postseason. That’s a good pitcher out there. We showed tonight that we’re capable of doing things like that.”
Now, the Phillies' season, that at one point felt lost, and maybe even hopeless, seems destined for greater things. Ending their 11-year postseason drought is now much more of a goal than it is a dream, and it's become possible with Thomson at the helm.
Certainly, Thomson will have some tough competition, with his most likely competitor being New York Mets' skipper Buck Showalter. Since taking over the managerial reins for New York, the Mets have played their way to a 73-40 (.652) record, with a seven-game lead over the second-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. It's also the second-best record in baseball.
However, the Mets have played well all season. They've had the NL East essentially locked up for most of 2022, but the Phillies have looked like an entirely different ball club since Thomson took over. He deserves to be recognized for that.
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