Chase Utley is a baseball player’s kind of player. He’s the quintessential “leave it on the field” kind of guy. He runs plays out, takes the extra base, and isn’t afraid to stand in and get hit by a pitch. This is why I feel bad having to write the following:
Chase Utley needs to step it up!
The Phillies second baseman had a chance to put last year’s dismal playoff performance against the Rockies behind him. But his 2 for 15 showing against the Brewers won’t have people confusing him with Bernie Williams. And even his 2 RBI were gift wrapped by a Mike Cameron misplay.
Chase is certainly one of the most beloved Phillies on the current roster. His hard-nose play has made him a favorite of guys. And his cute boyish looks even have throngs of females wearing number 26. His regular season numbers speak for themselves. A career .298 hitter with four straight 100 RBI seasons have made him arguably the best second baseman in the league. But that gets lost in October and replaced by the glaring .154 postseason batting average.
If the Phillies are to beat the Dodgers, they will surely need an increase in productivity from Utley (and Howard for that matter). The starting staff—Hamels, Myers and Blanton--threw three gems against the Brewers. So there wasn’t a need to score 7 or 8 runs to win. But what are the chances that the pitching staff can perform an encore against the Dodgers? I wouldn’t bank on it. Therefore, the offense is gonna need more than a home run here and a home run there. They are going to have to piece together a few crooked numbers. The Dodgers pitching surely isn’t overwhelming.
Chase has the ability to jump start the offense. But he also has the same ability to drag it down. Let’s hope for the prior over the later.