PHILADELPHIA -- This looks like the Alec Bohm that finished second for NL Rookie of the Year in 2020.
Hits and clutch hits.
Bohm’s one-out single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning on Friday night led the Phillies to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. His two-strike hit to right field scored two runs to give the Phillies a one-run lead. It followed his two-run home run and sacrifice fly in Wednesday’s victory in Colorado, which gave the Phillies an early lead and a late insurance run, respectively. Bohm is a .281 hitter in his career, but he is a .329 hitter (48-for-146) in his career with runners in scoring position.
“Well,” a reporter said to Bohm, opening a postgame interview.
“Here we are,” Bohm said, smiling.
“It’s a good place to be.”
“Right on,” Bohm said.
It has been a remarkable few weeks for Bohm. He entered Spring Training as the favorite to be the Opening Day third baseman. He struggled early in camp and fell behind Johan Camargo, then Bryson Stott. There was credible buzz that the Phillies could include him in a trade. There was talk that he could open the season in Triple-A.
Bohm made the team.
He committed three errors in the span of a few innings in a game against the Mets on April 11. He expressed his frustration on the field, which happened to be caught on camera. “I [expletive] hate this place,” he said. But Bohm handled the situation perfectly, acknowledging what he said. Phillies fans loved it. He got two standing ovations in each of the next two nights.
Bohm did not play third base again, however, until he played the final two innings there on Sunday in Miami.
He has started at third base in the four games since. He has played well, too. He made a nice backhanded play on a chopper up the third-base line to end a bases-loaded threat in the first inning.
“It’s been eventful,” Bohm said about the past few weeks. “Yeah, for sure. But it’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun. Sure, we wish we could have won a few more games in that span, but we’re getting going here and we’ll just keep this momentum going.”
Bryce Harper started the eighth-inning rally with a leadoff single to right. Nick Castellanos followed with an infield hit and J.T. Realmuto followed with a single to right to load the bases. Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging for the first out, setting up Bohm’s heroics.
Brewers right-hander Brad Boxberger fell behind 2-0 before working back into an even count. He threw Bohm a 95 mph fastball, which was down and away, but in the zone. Bohm sent it the opposite way.
“Everybody likes hitting with runners in scoring position,” Bohm said. “I’ve kind of learned throughout my career to really not try to do too much. Hitters, we love overswinging 2-0, 3-1. We love taking these big huge swings and coming up empty. It’s just the guys who can really slow their mind down and slow the game down and put together an at-bat. Just keep it extremely simple. You’ll get good results that way, I think.”
Bohm was huge in clutch moments as a rookie in 2020. He ranked fifth in the Majors in Win Probability Added, a metric that measures the change in probability of a win caused by a batter. Only Mike Yastrzemski (2.8), Freddie Freeman (2.6) and Brandon Lowe (2.5) and Ramón Laureano (2.4) ranked ahead of Bohm (2.2), according to Baseball-Reference.
Bohm entered Friday with 0.25 WPA, which would rank 43rd out of 177 hitters if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. He does not qualify because he barely played for six days following the three-error game.
That should change.
Asked if Bohm is pretty much his third baseman every day, Girardi said, “Yeah, Didi [Gregorius] is going to come back. We’ll move [Johan] Camargo around, I’m sure. He’ll play first, second, third, short to give guys a spell. Camargo has played great, too. You’d like to get them all in the lineup. But it’s not summer ball when you can have 10 people in the lineup.”
But Bohm deserves a spot. He is hitting in the clutch. He is holding his own defensively.
“We just want him to be Bohm,” Harper said. “That’s it. Just be himself. Just let the young guys come up, be themselves and learn and progress the best they can.”