Posted tagged ‘Chase Utley’

A Triple Play, Utley Errors, Cliff Lee and a Sweep

August 25, 2009
Eric Bruntlett after he completed the unassisted triple play

Eric Bruntlett after he completed the unassisted triple play

The Phillies sweep the Mets, although it was anything but weird.  Of course, Brad Lidge gets into trouble in the ninth – two runners on with nobody out.  The Mets put on the double steal; a line drive to second base, Eric Bruntlett makes the catch, tags the sliding runner from first and steps on second base to end the game.  An unassisted triple play completed by Chase Utley’s reserve second basemen.  Utley had the day off.  The final game, yesterday, Chase Utley makes two errors in the first inning.  Both of those errors led to runs, Cliff Lee’s only runs of the game.  Cliff Lee pitched another stellar game, giving up no earned runs and only 6 hits through 7 innings.  The Phillies extended their lead in the NL East to 7 games and now hold the second best run differential in all of baseball.

While the triple play was amazing, even better that it ended the game and gave the Phillies a big win, it doesn’t hide the fact that Brad Lidge is still struggling to get outs and be consistent.  A closer for a prominent and well playing team should not let the first two runners on base and not record a single out.  He got lucky that Bruntlett was lucky and in the right place.  Lidge pitched well yesterday, but still doesn’t make up for his inconsistent play.  He needs to get it together for the stretch run and apparent playoff games.  Chase Utley’s errors were really only a blip on the radar.  Maybe his one day off affected his game?  Although, one has to be concerned that Utley did commit the two errors in the same inning and that they led to runs.  I think this will be quickly forgotten.  Finally, how great an acquisition was Cliff Lee?  The dude has been nothing but dominant.  He really solidified this pitching staff and made the Roy Halladay rumors and requests all worth nothing.  Let’s hope he keeps it up.  In fact, he is one of the more interesting pitchers to watch.  He has great command not only of the mound, but the entire game.  He lands pitches in crucial spots and never waivers in his consistency.  His motions and wind-up are always the same and when they vary it is because the situation demands.  I think the Cliff Lee trade has been worth it, so far, and it should continue to reap benefits for the Phillies.

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Weekend Home Runs

July 27, 2009
Chase Utley Goes Yard

Chase Utley Goes Yard

After a disappointing start to the Phillies’ series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the “Fightins” came back with two powerful wins, including a 4 homerun outburst in yesterday’s game.  In fact, Jimmy Rollins, void of anything resembling his former self of the last three seasons, went yard in back to back games, with a grand slam just to prove he still has it.  Of course, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez got their turns to hit the long ball. 

Regardless of all the homeruns and power hitting, it is quite satisfying to know that the Phillies can bounce back from a tough loss.  Equally comforting is that the bottom of the pitching rotation got the job done over the last two games.  Even the bullpen has slightly steadied – of course with big leads, it really doesn’t matter. 

The Phillies are still in negotiation with the Blue Jays for the Roy Halladay services.  It appears the Blue Jays are asking for the farm, when the Phillies want to only give up the barn.  Our take here at Philatude is – you have to do whatever it takes to win another World Series.  I’d be satisfied giving up prospects now to win another championship.  If it means overpaying with prospects to get a pure number 1 pitcher, I would do it.  Imagine a rotation of Hamels, Halladay, Moyer, Blanton and a shadow of his former self, Pedro Martinez heading down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs.  I am assuming that JA Happ has to go to the Blue Jays for Halladay.  It would be a tough rotation to get any traction on and put together decent consecutive games.  Simply put – the Phillies should get Halladay to give them the best shot at winning the Series.

Unless a monumental collapse occurs, the Phillies should be in control of their destiny.

Winning on the Road

June 24, 2009

Phillies Logo

Phillies Logo

After a horrendous home stand, the Phillies got back into the win column with a drubbing of the World Series runner-ups, Tampa Bay Rays. Of course, this win came on the road.

Regardless of this most recent win, with an excellent offensive display, there are concerns about this Phillies team. We’ve discussed their faltering bullpen (overworked, not focused, an illusion last season, etc…), their inability to win at home (appearance of lazy and callous play) and their overall undetermined attitude for winning. I think the first two problems can be easily fixed. They can sure up their starting pitching with a trade or expecting more out of their younger pitchers. Winning at home should come more easily once they are able to realize that they can beat any team in the league anywhere with the appropriate focus.

Now the biggest problem is their attitude towards winning. During the World Series run, the Phillies exuded confidence, power and determination. Right now, they appear to be playing the card: “We won already, we just have to get there and we have nothing left to prove.” This attitude has to be fixed immediately. Charlie Manuel is doing everything he can to get this team to win (except some of his relief pitching decisions). The leaders on this Phillies team – Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard – have to lead by example and really show their teammates that they want another World Series.

Regardless of all their problems, the Phillies still hold a lead in their division and have plenty of time to turn things around and play consistent baseball. I think they can do it.