Phillies Game Story

Bohm delivers vs. Cubs, reflects on his journey to All-Star starter

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CHICAGO — Alec Bohm had a good idea the news would be coming, but he found out officially that he'd be starting the All-Star Game from Rob Thomson early Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Bohm was on the training table getting a massage, looked up and flashed a smile when the Phillies' manager confirmed the inevitable.

How did it feel?

"I don't really know yet," the soon-to-be-28-year-old said after hitting a two-run homer and helping fuel a game-winning rally in a 5-3 win over the Cubs.

"It's obviously one of those things that kinda just makes you think about all the time and all the games you've played. The good ones, the bad ones. It makes it all worth it."

Bryce Harper and Trea Turner, the Phillies' other two All-Star starters, have been here before. This will be Harper's eighth All-Star Game and Turner's third. They've both been MVP candidates for much of the last half-decade.

Bohm arrived at this point gradually. He was the No. 3 pick in the country out of Wichita State in 2018 and the read on him was that he seemed like he could hit for average with doubles pop but that the home run power might be slow to develop. There were also legitimate questions about his defense at third base.

One thing Bohm has done consistently from the day he got to the majors in 2020 is hit in clutch spots. He hit .452 with runners in scoring position as a rookie and is at .319 for his career. It's how he drove in 97 runs last season with a relatively low home run total of 20.

With the two-run shot Wednesday night, Bohm is up to 11 homers and 70 RBI on the season. He leads the majors with 28 doubles and has driven in three more runs than anyone in the NL.

He's also become much more reliable defensively, which is equally important because he might not have been able to stay on the field for the Phillies without that marked improvement. Infield coach Bobby Dickerson deserves a ton of credit with helping shape Bohm as a defender.

"It's all part of it," Bohm said. "The good times, the bad times, all of that. You play baseball long enough, it's not always going ot be pretty but a lot of those failures and a lot of that stuff are teaching moments, too. Little ways to make yourself better in the long run. I think all of it's kinda happened exactly how it should. It's brought me to where I am today."

Bohm credited his veteran teammates, notably Harper and Turner, for helping his grow as a player and person. It makes it even sweeter for him that he'll be flanked by two teammates in Texas on July 16.

"It'll be cool to look over to my left and see Trea, to catch a groundball and throw it over to Bryce," he said. "To be able to share that with those guys is pretty cool. Those guys have been a big part of helping me grow as a player, showing me what it's supposed to look like."

How have they helped?

"Pretty much any way you can imagine," he said. "Starting right when I came up, there's been a lot of really good veteran players from 2020-on that have come through here. Whether they stayed a while or were just here for a little bit, I feel like a lot of those guys have set a good example to the team we have now where everywhere you look in this clubhouse, there's a guy that's been an All-Star and done all that stuff.

"The way they go about their business, whether they're talking to you about it or not, these guys have done a really good job of setting an example for the young guys."

He also recognizes that he wouldn't be here without his parents, Dan and Lisa. They tried to let the All-Star process play out, he said, and didn't pepper him with questions or comments leading into Wednesday's reveal. It was pretty obvious that Bohm was going to get the nod over Manny Machado, though. He held a lead of 70% to 30%.

"They were happy. They come a lot," he said. "They've been supporting me since — I'm an only child so it was kinda just following me around, this tournament, that tournament, college, and so I think they had a lot to do with where I'm at, too."

At least six more Phillies have a genuine case to make the All-Star team. J.T. Realmuto is still one of the NL's best three catchers along with William Contreras and Will Smith. Ranger Suarez, Cristopher Sanchez and Zack Wheeler rank first, second and fourth in the league in ERA. Jeff Hoffman has a 1.24 ERA with seven saves and elite strikeout-to-walk numbers. Matt Strahm has a 1.64 ERA with 44 strikeouts and four walks.

Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET is when reserves and pitchers are announced and when the Phillies will find out whether they have five, six or potentially more All-Stars.

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