Amid uncertainty with Bohm, Phils' offense scuffling

Third baseman awaiting MRI results on left hamstring

June 1st, 2023

NEW YORK -- Edmundo Sosa slid into second base, popped up, clapped his hands, then ran them across the Phillies script on the front of his jersey.

Sosa thought he doubled in the third inning Wednesday night at Citi Field, except the ball cleared the fence in left field before it ricocheted into play. Once Sosa realized it, he jogged around the bases for a home run.

Sosa was the Phillies’ first batter to reach second base since Sunday. He scored the Phillies’ first run since Sunday, too. But it would be the only run they scored in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Mets.

The Phils have lost 11 of their last 16 games to finish May at 25-30.

“Everyone is frustrated,” Trea Turner said. “I know we talk about it nonstop, but it’s kind of what comes first: having fun or playing better? Both? That type of deal. We’re just trying to find our stride. We know it’s there. We know it’s going to come. But we want to get this thing started. We want to play better.”

Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola allowed four runs in six innings to fall to 4-4 with a 4.70 ERA. Nola’s uneven performance has been a hot-button issue for fans, but then so is the offense. It entered Wednesday night ranked 22nd in baseball with 4.20 runs per game.

And that’s with Alec Bohm in the lineup. Bohm had an MRI exam on his left hamstring on Wednesday, and results are expected Thursday. He did not play Sunday because of tightness in the hamstring, then he tweaked it making a play at third base on Tuesday.

Bohm said little about his condition following Wednesday’s game.

“We’re working on it,” he said.

Bohm is batting .265 with six home runs, a team-leading 37 RBIs and a .724 OPS.

“He may not have to go on the injured list,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “But if he does, I don’t know what the answer is yet.”

Bohm has been splitting time between third base and first base. If he needs to be placed on the IL, Sosa will become the primary third baseman. He batted .309 with three home runs, seven RBIs and an .891 OPS in 58 plate appearances through April 28. Since then, however, he has batted .219 with one homer, five RBIs and a .539 OPS.

Josh Harrison could see time at third base. He had a pinch-hit single Tuesday. It was only the third time he had reached base since April 20, although playing time has been scarce (26 plate appearances in just 12 games in that span).

Kody Clemens has earned more playing time at first. He is batting .268 with four homers, 10 RBIs and an .812 OPS, with a .270/.343/.508 slash line against righties. Clemens would receive the bulk of playing time at first, again, if Bohm misses time.

But what do the Phillies do when they play a lefty?

“We have to have that discussion on what we would do,” Dombrowski said. “I’ve made a phone call, and we haven’t come up with a conclusion yet.”

The Phillies do not have a right-handed hitter on the 26-man roster who can play first base. They have a few options at Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Drew Ellis (.300/.391/.500 in 23 plate appearances vs. left-handers this season), Jim Haley (.245/.322/.434 in 60 PAs vs. lefties) and Weston Wilson (.271/.333/.600 in 78 PAs vs. lefties).

The A’s designated Jesús Aguilar for assignment on Monday. He batted .221 with five home runs, nine RBIs and a .665 OPS with Oakland, but he slashed .280/.362/.520 with four homers and eight RBIs in 59 plate appearances vs. lefties.

The Cubs last week released Eric Hosmer, but he hits left-handed. He batted .234 with two homers, 14 RBIs and a .610 OPS overall. He had a .528 OPS in 18 plate appearances vs. lefties.

Darick Hall, also a lefty hitter, began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Single-A Clearwater, but he needs at-bats before the Phillies consider bringing him back.

Whether Bohm misses time or not, the best solution is that the rest of the lineup starts to hit. It has been a struggle. But Thursday is June 1, when Kyle Schwarber typically heats up. Turner has had better at-bats recently, although he has had little to show for it. J.T. Realmuto has been scuffling recently, too.

“We’re just going through a tough time,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “But I don’t think there’s a secret pill or anything. They’ve got to keep fighting, keep grinding.”