Rookie Alec Bohm was not in the starting lineup for the third time in four games as the Phillies opened a series with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Ronald Torreyes got the start at third base, the position Bohm has manned for most of the season.
Brad Miller got the start at first base, the position Bohm filled on Wednesday in place of injured Rhys Hoskins.
Bohm has struggled at the plate lately and in the field most of the season. With the Phillies locked in a tight playoff race, manager Joe Girardi has an obligation to use the players he believes will give the club the best chance to win.
"I think we're doing that," he said before the game.
Bohm, who turned 25 earlier this month, is hitting .251 with an OPS of just .655 this season. He has just 21 extra-base hits in 359 at-bats. Entering Friday night, he had just four hits in his last 21 at-bats.
Bohm spent a significant amount of time before the game working on his defense at both corner infield spots.
It does not sound as if Girardi wants to sit Bohm for an extended period.
"I'm just trying to reset him, in a sense," Girardi said. "Torreyes is playing well and we're just trying to reset Bohm. He's swung the bat pretty well since June, but he's had a rough homestand. I'm just trying to reset him."
That reset applies on defense, too, Girardi said. Bohm made a costly error at first base Wednesday night.
"It's important," Girardi said of the need to put his best defensive eight on the field. "It's hard when you give teams extra outs. It's important that we make the plays and just give them 27."
All of this raises some questions: Why not have Bohm "reset" in the minors, where he can get regular reps away from the pressure and glare of a playoff race? Is there a reluctance to send him to the minors because he was such a high draft pick – third overall in 2018?
"No, it's not that," Girardi said. "We just think he can really help us win. That's what we believe."
The Phillies could soon face these questions again. The team hopes Hoskins (groin strain) will be ready to come off the injured list when he's eligible Tuesday, and Freddy Galvis, who plays three infield positions, is probably less than two weeks away from being ready. The team will need spots on the active roster for both players.
Bohm can make all of this moot by playing better when he gets his next chance to start.
"We need him to be productive and that's the bottom line," Girardi said. "I think he can be an impact bat.
"Defensively, we just need him to make the plays he's supposed to make. I think you can get in a defensive slump a little bit, just like offense. Alec hasn't played a ton of professional baseball. He hasn't had a ton of reps. We got him up here last year and he played great. He went through some defensive woes last year and then responded really well. And that's what I expect this time."