Alec Bohm had already made two errant throws en route to three overall Monday night when he went to his left, fielded a grounder, and threw to first base to record an out in the second inning.
Cue the Bronx cheer.
And the videotape.
First, though, let’s acknowledge Bohm’s role in the Phillies’ stirring come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. In three plate appearances, he roped a double and worked two walks, including a leadoff pass to kick-start the Phillies’ five-run eighth inning.
“It’s only a matter of time with this team,” Bohm said after Rhys Hoskins doubled home Nick Castellanos from first base with the tying run and Didi Gregorius drove in Hoskins with a go-ahead two-out double against Mets reliever Seth Lugo. “Nobody really thinks we’re out of it.”
OK, now about those three errors. And that video that set social media ablaze.
Two batters after Bohm’s second miscue, after making the play to his left to retire speedy Starling Marte, the third baseman received derisive applause from many among the announced crowd of 22,317. As he returned to his position, he was caught on camera saying something to shortstop Gregorius.
Amateur lip-readers slowed the video as though it was the Zapruder film. After the game, Bohm admitted that he did, in fact, say: “I [bleeping] hate this place.”
“Look, emotions got the best of me,” he said. “I said it. Do I mean it? No. It’s a frustrating night for me. Made a few mistakes in the field. But these people, these fans, they just want to win. You heard it. We come back, they’re great. I’m sorry to them. I don’t mean that.”
Nobody made excuses for Bohm. But the Phillies did circle the wagons.
Manager Joe Girardi, who has charitably called Bohm’s defense a “work in progress,” chalked it up to youth and frustration. Castellanos, who came up with the Detroit Tigers as a defensively challenged third baseman, praised Bohm for not allowing the errors to affect the quality of his at-bats.
After Bohm stood up at his locker and faced reporters‘ questions, Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber approached him. They talked. Castellanos and Bohm slapped hands.
“It’s a kid that was frustrated,” Girardi said. “I don’t think the kid was referring to the city of Philadelphia, the fans. I think he was referring to the situation he was in. I mean, put yourself in his shoes, right? That’s got to be a tough place. In that situation, you hate everything.”
Said Castellanos: “He had the best at-bats all night. When I was his age, if it was going like that on defense, it would be going like that on offense, too. It’s a testament to him and his maturity and his growth.”
Maybe so. Maybe it was another teachable moment for Bohm.
But Girardi noted that there‘s still work to do. Last season, the 25-year-old often let one aspect of his game affect another. And Girardi said he believed Bohm’s disappointment from his first error Monday night — an off-balance throw that he shouldn’t have made on a ball that deflected off pitcher Ranger Suárez — may have contributed to the others.
Bohm didn’t disagree.
“Made some mistakes. It happens,” he said. “It shouldn’t happen that much. I’m better than that. I know that. Everybody knows that. Bounce back from it.”
Bohm has started two of the season’s first four games. He’s 3-for-3 with three walks. He hasn’t made an out. But his performance against the Mets encapsulated why he’s simulataneously enticing and frustrating.
There was no hiding Bohm’s defense against the Mets. Eight balls were hit to him through four innings. He made five plays, including starting a double play on a hard-hit one-hopper. But he botched three throws, bringing to mind a series last August when Bohm committed three errors in three games against the Mets.
The Phillies demoted Bohm to triple A a few days later, and he started only five more games in the big leagues, including three at first base. It’s premature to suggest a similar fate awaits him. But with rookie Bryson Stott and surehanded Johan Camargo also getting time at third base, it’s worth wondering whether Bohm would be better served playing every day in triple A.
“The one thing that I think is progress was his at-bats were good after,” said Girardi, who added that righty-hitting Bohm likely won’t start Tuesday night against Mets righty Tylor Megill. “I’m not so sure he would have done that last year. So, I think he’s growing up a little bit. We have to do some more. But I think he’s growing up.”
Nick of time
When the Phillies acquired Nick Nelson in a four-player trade with the New York Yankees in November, team officials were intrigued by the right-hander’s fastball-changeup combination.
Both pitches were on display in an impressive Phillies debut.
Nelson, who is being stretched out as a depth starter, replaced Suárez with two out in the third inning, retired 11 of 13 batters on 45 pitches, and was charged with one run in four innings. More than half of his pitches were changeups, a weapon that caught Girardi’s eye in spring training. Nelson’s fastball, meanwhile, averaged 95.4 mph and topped out at 98.
Moving the line
J.T. Realmuto powered the Phillies’ comeback with a two-run home run against Mets lefty Joely Rodriguez. But Castellanos worked a seven-pitch walk with two out to set up Hoskins’ double.
With the fans chanting his first name, Gregorius put the Phillies ahead.
“I felt like I had to come through for the team,” Gregorius said, laughing. “But it was good.”
Despite not starting a major-league spring-training game, Phillies ace Zack Wheeler will make his first start of the season at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.