That’s what I’m talking about! Everyone, including myself, always like to talk about Chase Utley – how he’s a special player that will play through pain and excel at everything he does. Well, Chase certainly lived up to the hype last night. In his first game back from a broken hand he went 3-for-5 including a solo shot to straight-away center that even Brett Myers would appreciate. The home run put the NL East on notice: Chase is back.
Philly fans, as we tend to do, ate up every second of Utley’s amazing performance. Chase got a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning and earned a curtain call after homering in the fifth. Fans chanted "M-V-P" after his RBI double in the sixth. Yet, like all superstars he made his teammates better. Not to be outdone by Utley’s solo shot, Tad Iguchi – Utley’s replacement for the past month – made his presence known with a 2-run pinch hit homer of his own in the seventh. Although, Utley’s affect on the drama of last night’s game can be easily overstated, it is impossible to deny the infectiousness of his return. Shane Victorino, who sat out after tweaking his calf injury, was noticeably impressed as he danced around the dugout like a little schoolgirl. "Chase coming out with a bang like he did tonight, people are probably going to be worried," Ryan Howard said. Mets Coach Willie Randolph expressed his concern in saying, "I’m not looking forward to seeing him."
Ok, let’s allow reality to set back in and recognize that the Phillies are still a long way from the playoffs. As stated yesterday, Ryan Howard – who had two hits last night – must continue to reduce the strikeouts if the Phillies are to overcome their pitching woes. Speaking of which, Adam Eaton returns to the hill tonight after a fortnight of mental and physical recuperation. Plus there are rumors that Cole Hamels will also start this week. The Phillies are coming back – first from injuries and hopefully next from five games behind.
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