All-Star starters Bohm, Turner key Phils' win

Duo joins Harper in NL starting lineup for Midsummer Classic

July 4th, 2024

CHICAGO -- 's baseball journey zipped through his mind on Wednesday.

The high school baseball games. The college ones. The 180 games he played in the Minor Leagues, including the 14 he played late in 2021 when the Phillies optioned him to Triple-A. There was the “I hate this [expletive] place” game. But there were good things, too. All the hard work that led to his improvement as a third baseman and as a hitter. The fun times with his teammates. All the winning.

“All that stuff,” Bohm said. “It makes it all worth it.”

Bohm learned before Wednesday night’s 5-3 comeback victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field that he will start for the National League at third base in the July 16 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Arlington. It will be his first All-Star appearance. He will join Bryce Harper, who learned last week that he will start at first base, and Trea Turner, who learned on Wednesday that he will start at shortstop.

“It just makes you think about all the time,” Bohm said. “All the games I played, the good ones, the bad ones.

“I mean, you play baseball long enough, it’s not always going to be pretty. A lot of those failures are teaching moments -- little ways to make yourself better in the long run. I think all of it has happened exactly how it should. It’s kind of brought me to where I am today.”

Bohm sparked the Phillies’ comeback. The Cubs held a 2-1 lead in the sixth, when Turner flew down the first-base line for a leadoff infield single. Statcast tracked Turner’s sprint speed at 31.1 feet per second, which is the fastest he has run since returning from the 10-day injured list on June 17 because of a strained left hamstring.

Bohm followed with a two-run home run to left-center field to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. It was Bohm’s 69th and 70th RBIs of the season. He is the first Phillies player to reach 70 RBIs in the team’s first 86 games since Ryan Howard had 72 RBIs in 86 games in 2008.

The Cubs tied the game in the seventh, but Turner and Bohm started the eighth inning with back-to-back singles. They advanced a base on a passed ball before Turner scored the go-ahead run on Edmundo Sosa’s sacrifice fly to center field.

Bohm scored on a two-out single from Whit Merrifield.

Teammates were happy to learn last week that Harper will start for the NL at first base. This is his eighth All-Star selection, and his second with the Phillies. They were happy to learn on Wednesday that Turner made the team, too. It is his third All-Star selection.

But Bohm’s election was different.

“I went up to him and said, ‘Man, you came a long way,” Phillies ace Zack Wheeler said. “From ‘I hate this place’ to you’re a starter in the All-Star Game. That’s pretty cool to watch. Just being around a while now, he’s one of my favorite guys to watch. He has a good-looking swing, he plays hard, he shows up every day and plays every day. He’s a good human. It’s cool to see.”

Not many people thought Bohm would stick at third base when the Phillies selected him with the third overall pick in the 2018 Draft. He struggled so much in 2021 that former manager Joe Girardi benched him for journeyman Ronald Torreyes. The Phillies were open to trading him before the 2022 season. But Bohm kept working, continued to develop and blossomed into one of the team’s most clutch hitters.

“I’ve seen where he started,” Thomson said. “I saw his first Spring Training after he got drafted. To see him at that point [and] to see him now, he’s a completely different guy, a completely different player, a completely different person. I’ve been developing guys all my life, and I still think of myself as a development guy. To see those things happen, it really perks you up.”

Thomson told Bohm of his election while he was in the trainer’s room. Bohm smiled.

“It was almost like, ‘Yeah, I made it. I’m here,’” Thomson said.

This will be the first time since 1982 that the Phillies have had three infielders start the All-Star Game. Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose and Manny Trillo started the Midsummer Classic that year.

This Phillies infield is better than that one. In fact, it is on pace to have arguably the greatest season by an infield in franchise history. FanGraphs has Philadelphia's 2007 infield as the best in team history with a cumulative 18.3 WAR. This year’s group already has 12.1 WAR, which puts them on pace to surpass that ‘07 mark.

Bohm is a big reason why.

“He’s got a good confidence about him,” Turner said. “He’s not scared of anybody or anything. It’s not necessarily how he talks, but how he carries himself every day. That’s probably what sticks out most. The confidence in himself to succeed.”