PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm’s sophomore season has not been the follow-up he anticipated. Fortunately, he has five months to make up for the bad one.
Bohm showed signs of that in Saturday night’s 5-4 Phillies loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. He singled and scored in the second inning. He hit a game-tying, opposite-field, two-run home run in the sixth. He singled again in the eighth. It was Bohm’s first three-hit game this season and second multi-hit game in three days.
It did not erase the sting of Michael Conforto’s solo home run to right field in the ninth, or a disputed baseline call against the Phillies in the seventh, which Phillies manager Joe Girardi said might have cost them the game. But if Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura return to the lineup in the near future and Bohm starts hitting like he hit last season, when he finished second for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, the Phillies could get some semblance of offense going, although they continue to get nothing out of center field.
It could help a 13-14 team that has not won consecutive games since its 4-0 start.
“I haven’t probably handled my start, I guess, as good as I could have,” Bohm said. “So, really, I’m just trying to stay positive with everything. Today was a good day. The swing’s not the problem. There’s nothing I’m really working on and really trying to fix. There’s nothing to fix. It’s just, keep doing what I’m doing and things will change.”
Bohm batted .338 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and an .881 OPS as a rookie last season. He came up with several clutch hits. But after he went 0-for-3 on Tuesday in St. Louis, Bohm was batting .198 with two home runs, 12 RBIs and a .538 OPS.
“I’ve gone through [struggles] a little bit in the Minor Leagues,” Bohm said. “But not when it’s this meaningful. I wanted to help, you know? We’re in all these close games and I really wanted to help. And now I’ve got to be myself and let it come.”
Girardi on Wednesday did not start Bohm at third base for the first time this season. He is batting .400 (6-for-15) with one double, one home run, three RBIs and a 1.067 OPS since.
“You get to relax the mind a little bit,” Bohm said.
Girardi’s and Andrew McCutchen’s minds were on a couple things that happened in the first and seventh innings. Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler struggled in the first, but McCutchen contributed when he flat-out missed a line drive to left-center field that allowed two runs to score. McCutchen said he lost the ball. He said the same thing happened on two other line drives this season.
“I’m not too certain what it is,” he said. “If it just happens to be that time of day, where I’m just not seeing and deciphering the ball from the backdrop. … I’m just losing it when I get a break on the ball.
“That ball needs to be caught. I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to work on catching those.”
McCutchen walked with one out in the seventh. Matt Joyce hit a ball into the shift. Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor fielded it. He ran at McCutchen, but he realized he had no chance to tag him so he threw to first for the second out.
Second-base umpire José Navas ruled that McCutchen ran out of the baseline to end the inning.
Replays showed that McCutchen ran a perfectly straight line. The Phillies’ dugout was livid, including Harper. He got ejected after sharing his thoughts on the matter.
“To me, the sad thing about it is it's not reviewable because it's a judgment,” said Girardi, not hiding his displeasure. “Well, I'm sorry, that's about as clear as it can be.”
Who knows what happens if McCutchen was safe as he should have been?
“There’s so much at stake in every game,” Girardi said. “I know people say, well, it’s April. Well, we were one game from making the playoffs last year.”
For the Phillies to really have a chance to make the postseason, they will need to hit. Bohm can help. He got too down on himself in April. He believes May will be better.
“It’s me bringing it upon myself a little bit,” Bohm said. “Just seeing one ball not fall, then another. And then I have a bad at-bat here and then everything starts snowballing a little bit. You’ve got to step away sometimes and say, look, I’m doing all the things that I need to do. I’m swinging at the right pitches. Things will turn eventually.”