The Sandberg era, however, started just like Manuel's tenure ended: With a loss.
The Dodgers beat the Phillies, 4-0, on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. It was a hectic day for the entire Phillies organization, and Sandberg -- who served as the Phillies' third-base coach this season until the promotion -- had a lot to deal with.
"We're all human beings, and it was an emotional day for a lot of reasons," Sandberg said. "Some of the players have been with Charlie for nine years, even going back, adding that to some Minor League days. It hit me, emotionally. I had to get the wheels turning as far as managing, I almost ran out to third base. I was looking for my helmet, and that wouldn't have been a good thing."
The Phillies officially announced they were parting ways with Manuel -- the winningest manager in franchise history -- and promoted Sandberg to lead the team for the rest of the season on Friday afternoon. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he and Manuel knew Wednesday. Sandberg learned of the move on Thursday, but players did not know of the news until Friday afternoon. And just hours later, they had to take the field.
Jimmy Rollins, who was the Phillies' shortstop for the duration of Manuel's tenure with the team, said the news caught him off guard. However, he added dealing with change is part of the game.
"Baseball is demanding. Change happens, but the game keeps going, it doesn't stop," Rollins said. "In the offseason, you get a chance to [reminisce]. But you know what happened, [I] got a chance to talk to Charlie and you go play a baseball game."
Sandberg, who spent six seasons as a Minor League manager, said he did get the chance to address the team in the clubhouse after the announcement was made. The interim manager said he reminded players of the opportunity and responsibilities they have as Major Leaguers.
"We just took it all in," left fielder Domonic Brown said of Sandberg's speech. "He said a few words. Even though he's a quiet guy, when he speaks, everybody listens. He said a few words and went on about his business. And we did the same."
Sandberg, a Hall of Famer, was tasked with taking over a team that has struggled mightily since the All-Star break. Entering Friday, the Phillies had lost 19 of their last 23 games, and it was more of the same against the Dodgers -- even with the managerial change.
For the 11th time this season, the Phillies were shut out, which spoiled Cliff Lee's best start since June 24.
Lee lasted eight innings, gave up three runs on five hits and struck out six batters. Hanley Ramirez delivered the big blow against the All-Star in the form of a two-run homer in the fourth inning.
Zack Greinke was again dominant for the scorching-hot Dodgers. He did walk four batters in 7 1/3 innings, but the Phillies mustered just three hits against the right-hander.
The Phillies' biggest threat came in the eighth inning after they chased Greinke. Runners were in scoring position for the heart of the order, but Chase Utley and Darin Ruf both struck out.
Sandberg said he thought the Phillies have had some "lackadaisical" play lately when he addressed reporters the first time. Rollins noted that players might be trying too hard.
"Not executing and lackadaisical play are completely different, but they look the same," Rollins said. "You see guys doing things, but it's not because it's a lack of effort. A lot of times, from what I've seen, is guys trying to do too much."
Friday was a day that will not soon be forgotten in Phillies history, and for however long Sandberg manages, he won't see another one like it.
Though the Phillies' playoff hopes have been realistically dashed for a few weeks, Sandberg and his team still have 41 games left on the schedule. He's hoping the upcoming days are more normal than Friday.
"I think all of us went through the same thing today, same emotions, went through the same conferences and all that," Sandberg said. "Hopefully tomorrow we get back to work, and the game does go on."