Pitching ruled the weekend for the Phillies, but the way Sunday’s game was shaping up late, it seemed the topic this morning might be offensive disappointment rather than pitching excellence.
The ingredients were there. The Phillies scored once early on Andrew Knapp’s home run but couldn’t tack on. Zach Eflin was cruising but made a mistake to the second-to-last hitter he faced, Travis d’Arnaud, who tied the game.
Things were still tied entering the bottom of the eighth, a critical inning for the Phillies with Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman due up to begin the ninth for the Braves.
How many times have you seen the Phillies lose this sort of game in recent years?
The top of the Phillies’ order prevented a deflating end to the opening weekend by producing three one-out singles in the eighth against Chris Martin. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper set the table and Alec Bohm drove in the game-winning run with a line-drive single up the middle, the kind of batted ball that describes his offensive game more than any other.
Bohm was in the cleanup spot with J.T. Realmuto getting the day off.
“He’s come through time and time again so you feel pretty good about him in that spot,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s not going to do too much. He’s been really good in those situations and that’s why we have him in the middle of the lineup, because of those situations.”
Bohm provides an important skill set to the Phillies’ lineup. He’s shown an ability throughout his pro career to hit for average and power without striking out much. He’s struck out in about 20% of his big-league plate appearances. For reference, the league average since 2019 from players batting fourth and fifth is 23%.
He makes a lot of contact and doesn’t run as many deep counts as a Harper or Hoskins. That’s fine. You don’t need a lineup full of guys who get to 3-2. Bohm is 16 for 27 (.593) on the first pitch of at-bats, with five more hits in that count than any other. He's aggressive.
With runners in scoring position, he’s hit .432/.491/.500.
“I try to make it the same as if it was the first inning,” Bohm said Sunday. “Same game, same concept, just means more.”
Bohm went 2 for 10 in the opening series with that big knock. The Phillies’ offense had a quiet weekend all around, scoring nine runs with six extra-base hits in three games.
Pitching tends to be ahead of hitting this time of year, especially in the Northeast. The weather should a little warmer for the Phillies-Mets series but Monday night will be no easier on the offense with Jacob deGrom starting.
Bohm bats fifth.
1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Alec Bohm, 3B
6. Didi Gregorius, SS
7. Jean Segura, 2B
8. Adam Haseley, CF
9. Matt Moore, LHP