Heading into the 2020 season, optimism was building in Philadelphia as Joe Girardi began his first season as the Phillies manager. Instead, Girardi’s tenure crashed and burned and he was fired earlier this month. Philadelphia named Rob Thomson as the Phillies manager on an interim basis. Immediately after, the Philadelphia stopped losing, and the Phillies win streak has Philadelphia back in the playoff mix. While it seemed that Thomson would only be manager through the remainder of the season, the long Phillies win streak might start changing minds in Philadelphia.
The Win Streak
On June 3rd, Philadelphia officially fired Joe Girardi as manager of the Phillies following a disappointing start to the season that saw the team sitting at 22-29 on the season. While the Phillies had won their final game under Girardi, it was clear a new direction was needed. That night, the Phillies opened a series with the suddenly struggling Los Angeles Angels.
Despite having just fired their manager that morning, the Phillies dominated LA winning 10-0 and starting a winning streak to get them back in the playoff mix. In the 3 game series, Philadelphia scored at least 7 runs a game. Phillies fans especially were ecstatic when MVP Bryce Harper tied the finale in thee eighth with a grand slam before rookie Bryson Stott sent the Philly faithful home happy with a walk-off three run home run.
After continuing LA’s struggles, the Phillies and their win streak were off to Milwaukee for a date with the first place Brewers. Again Philadelphia dominated, winning a low scoring pitching dual in the first game before scoring 8 runs in game 2 and winning game 3 10-0, for their second double digit win of the win streak.
Finally, the Phillies returned home winning the first two games against Arizona to push the winning streak to 8 games before losing Sunday afternoon. While there is still plenty of season left to go, Philadelphia’s win streak has pushed themselves back to .500 and are just behind a crowded field in the NL Wild Card Race.
Rob Thomson’s Impact
Rob Thomson started his coaching career back with the Tigers in 1988 before making a name, well apparently many names, for himself with the Yankees from 1990-2017. With the Yankees, he would eventually serve as Joe Girardi’s bench coach, before both were let go following the 2017 ALCS.
He wasn’t unemployed for long. Looking for a veteran presence to help support then-Phillies manager, Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia turned to the steady hand of Rob Thomson. Eventually, after Kapler started to struggle, it was rumored that Thomson has taken over in-game decisions for the team.When Kapler was fired after 2019, Thomson would stay on as bench coach with his former boss Girardi.
Since being named the interim Phillies manager, Thomson has seen a noticeable boost from the Phillies offense. Since June 3rd, the team is tied with the Minnesota Twins for home runs. A lot of this success, according to superstar Bryce Harper is due to Thomson’s calming presence and a “different vibe” that has allowed the Phillies the opportunity to “reset and take a deep breath.”
While it remains to be seen if Thomson will be given a real shot to claim the permanent position of Phillies manager. It is pretty clear the team is playing some pretty inspired baseball as evident by their 9-game win streak. With the schedule softening a bit of the next couple of weeks, all eyes will be on the Thomson to see if he can continue to make gains in the NL playoff race. Maybe the Phillies can even start another win streak.
Let us know in the comments below if you think Rob Thomson should be the permanent Phillies manager!