The Phillies bottomed out last week, falling to 21-29 on the season and firing manager Joe Girardi. They are now 3-0 under interim manager Rob Thomson. Sunday's 9-7 win over the Angels was an amazing comeback, too. The Phillies were down 5-0 at one point and then were trailing 6-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning.
And then Bryce Harper hit a game-tying grand slam.
The Angels would find a way to pick themselves up and retake the lead in the top of the ninth, but in the bottom half, it was Phillies rookie Bryson Stott with a three-run, walk-off shot. Take a look:
That was only the second career homer for Stott and it closed down a three-game sweep for the Phillies, while sending the Angels to their 11th straight loss.
After the game, Harper dropped a quote that could be construed as a shot across the bow of Girardi.
"I'm so happy for (Stott), man. What an at-bat. What a situation for him. Being able to put our trust in our young guys the last couple days, and really let them just play," he said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's been great. And it paid off today."
Harper on the importance of playing younger guys: “The thing about Bryson is he’s got to play. He’s used to playing every day. From high school, to college, to minor league baseball, to now. He’s used to playing every day, and that’s what we’ve got to do for our young guys..."— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) June 5, 2022
The last couple days, you say, Bryce? Hmmm. What happened in there?
Prior to last Thursday, the Phillies had a lot of problems and to put all of those on Girardi is ignorant and unfair. To act like a sweep on the heels of Girardi's firing was specifically because Girardi was fired is a huge leap as well. There are ebbs and flows in baseball, as we all know.
If the players in the clubhouse feel better about their chances for any reason whatsoever, however, that reason matters. Baseball is a big-time mental game. As such, if someone wanted to argue that Harper's comments were a not-so-veiled shot at Girardi and insinuated they are playing better with him gone, I'm not going to push back on that.