PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm is confident that the turn is coming.
He believes if a hitter hits the ball hard consistently, he will be rewarded for it. Bohm is hitting the ball hard this season, but he has little to show for it. He entered Thursday night’s series finale against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park batting .224 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and a .596 OPS in 173 plate appearances. He batted .338 with four homers, 23 RBIs and an .881 OPS in 180 plate appearances last season, when he finished second for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
“Rhys [Hoskins] always tells me to just keep walking up there,” Bohm said. “He’s been through it. He’s talked to me a couple different times about some stuff. He’s always good about being there and saying the right thing at the right time and just keeping me going, keeping me in the right spot.”
Bohm ranks in the 92nd percentile in average exit velocity and in the 87th percentile in hard-hit percentage. He is hitting the ball harder than last season. His batting average on balls in play is .278 compared to .410 last season, so in a sense he enjoyed some good luck last season and some bad luck this season.
But there is more to it.
His strikeout rate is up. His walk rate is down. He is struggling against the fastball, batting .196 against it this season compared to .337 last season. He is missing more pitches in the zone.
It all adds up.
“I still handle [the fastball] fine, sometimes it just doesn’t fall,” Bohm said. “It’s really not anything I’m worried about. I know I can hit a fastball. It’s not going to be a thing. It’s just kind of how early on in the season it’s gone.”
“When you’re a tick off at this level it can cause a lot of issues, that’s the bottom line,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “We saw him hit fastballs last year. That was not an accident. He’s just a little off this year.”
Bohm also has grounded into 11 double plays, three more than any other hitter in baseball.
“Some of them are me swinging at a bad pitch,” he said. “Some of them, I hit a ball hard, but right at someone. I think a lot of it is that guys in front of me are getting on a lot. I’m getting a lot of opportunities with guys on base. Yeah, I’d definitely like to do a lot more with those opportunities instead of making two outs, but my job is to go up there and hit the ball hard. I feel like I’ve done all right at that.”
Bohm has shown his frustration at times, which is understandable. He has not struggled like this in the past.
He is not looking for sympathy.
“Nobody feels bad for you,” he said. “Everybody has gone through it. Everybody has done it in some way. It’s about showing up, being the same guy every day, taking care of what I can control and find ways to help the team win every day.”
Short bench again
J.T. Realmuto did not start for the fourth consecutive game because of a bone bruise on his left hand. Girardi said the catcher is improving, although it is unclear if he could play if needed. Jean Segura did not start, the team said, because he was sick. But Segura was available off the bench.