Phillies legend Larry Bowa shares his thoughts on Joe Girardi, Rob Thomson

Phillies legend Larry Bowa shares his thoughts on Joe Girardi, Rob Thomson

When Larry Bowa is asked how to describe this 2022 Phillies team, he responds with one word: inconsistent. Bowa has spent more seasons in a Phillies uniform than anyone on earth. He has witnessed 29 years of ups and downs, successes and failures, as a player, as a manager and as a coach. But this season – which currently has all 11 games for the Phillies in the division – is particularly disappointing.

Bowa doesn’t blame all of the blame for the Phillies’ lackluster first 52 games on former manager Joe Girardi alone, and he thinks interim manager Rob Thomson will help right the ship. But beyond that, Bowa thinks the players could use some honest self-assessment at this stage of this season.

“Joe can carry on conversations with anyone,” Bowa said. “I like Jo. I like Jo a lot. But Rob is probably a bit more balanced. I think this team needs to know – it’s just me talking now – I think the guys have to look at themselves in the mirror and say, “You know what, I have to do a better job.” It’s very easy to get here and, say, have a new batting coach, a new bench coach, a new throwers Players must have a certain responsibility.

“You can say, ‘It’s early, we’re not worried about it’, but that won’t be enough. You have to be responsible. I think we have players who will accept this role. I’ve listened to a few interviews, and guys aren’t happy with where they are. There’s no doubt about that. I don’t think anyone is happy. I’m very disappointed. I still think it’s a playoff team. Now for me to m sit here and say we’re going to catch the Mets – that’s a big task. The playoffs? I don’t think it’s that big a task.

“Even though we lost a great player in [Jean] Segura, that’s no excuse. You have to go out and play, and you have to play regularly. And if we have the mindset that, hey, let’s take every series — don’t even look at the leaderboard. Let’s start winning tonight. Take set after set. And you’re not going to win everyone over, but if you get into that mindset, good things can happen. You can make up ground on a lot of teams.

Several players, including Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos, showed that responsibility on Friday following Girardi’s dismissal. Bowa further disputes the idea that it is still early in the season, without specifying which players he had heard of.

“I don’t think they lacked accountability, but I always hear it’s early days,” Bowa said. “Maybe in games played it’s early, but if you look at the schedule it’s not early. It’s not early at all. When you’re in Philadelphia, and I’ve been here a long time , I think the most important thing you have to do when you’re doing an interview and you didn’t have a good game is not to make excuses. The fans don’t want to hear that.

“What [Alec] Bohm did, for me, it was awesome. He came out and said, ‘You know what, that’s not the right thing. You know what? We are not playing well. Try not to sugar coat here. Because the fans don’t want to hear that. If you’re honest with those fans and tell them you know what we stink of tonight, they’ll appreciate that.

“It’s a blue-collar city, and that’s why it’s important when we draft, you have to take that mentality into consideration. Those fans, they’re big fans. Can it be difficult? No question “But if you give them effort every night and you don’t lie to them and say, ‘You know what, I have to make this game,’ they’re going to respect you more. I think we need to do more. We have to say: “We are not playing well and we have to take it back.” I think if we do that we will go in the right direction.

READ MORE: Phillies rout Angels, 10-0, in interim manager Rob Thomson’s opener

Bowa rode Thomson as the pair coached the New York Yankees from 2006-07. He believes Thomson’s breadth of experience will serve him well this season.

“He’s been there for a while,” Bowa said. “He’s great with the guys. It’s going to be a different role, but he’s a good communicator. It will be an easy transition for the players. I think he likes having a role for relief pitchers – it’s just me looking for his brain a bit – I just think where he’s been in New York with all these World Series teams, working with Joe Torre, I think along the way he picked up advice from different managers and different coaches. And I think he’s going to put them in his game plan a bit, but I think he’s going to play the players a little bit relaxed and see what happens.

“But the players have to play. No matter who you bring here, the players have to improve. We can’t keep going on this roller coaster where you have six runs in one game and then one run in another game. This team is made up of hitters, there’s no doubt about it, and we have good hitters. But we’ll just have to play baseball more consistently.

When Bowa talks about “constant baseball,” he’s focusing primarily on two areas: the offense and the bullpen.

“I like our starting pitch,” he said. “Our bullpen – the arms are over there. There are good arms. I saw them closing the door one night, then the next night they got into a lot of trouble. If we can get more consistency from the batters and the bullpen, I think we can catch up. We can’t worry about our position in the standings. We just have to try to win series. Each streak wins two out of three or, if you’re lucky or good enough, sweep them. But if you look at this picture as a whole, you’re going to say, “Oh man, we dug a hole.” But there is still a lot of baseball. I’m not one to say it’s too early because it’s not too early, but there are still a lot of games left. »

READ MORE: Joe Girardi won’t be the last victim of Phillies incompetence

Bowa also believes it’s important to minimize small errors and believes errors are more reflective of the players than Girardi.

“It’s a tough game to play,” he said. “But you have to minimize mental errors. Does not cover first base. How many times have we done this in spring training? A million times. And then you don’t do it one night, and it costs you. It’s all those little things that add up to big problems. It’s just a question for the players to focus more, to be more consistent. There is no doubt in my mind they are a talented team. Are we at fault? Yes. We probably don’t have a big range, but these guys should make routine plays. I saw them doing routine games.

“I don’t think there are any players who say, ‘Oh, I’m glad so-and-so came out. I think the players respected Joe. When I played and a manager got fired, I took it personally. I said ‘We let this guy down.’ And I think we have to start doing it as a team. We need to post here. John Middleton spent a lot of money to bring this team to another level, and it’s up to us. And I think they have the players to do it, they really do. They have to do it as a team, not as individuals. And once they do that, I think we can get things going and start trending up.

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