Defense is magnified in the postseason, as every play — and every inch — means so much more. We saw that full scale in game two, when Shane Victorino robbed Casey Blake of an extra-base hit with an incredible, leaping catch. We also saw it last night, when Andre Ethier made a gorgeous diving play on a So Taguchi sinker.
But no play was as important — maybe all season — than Chase Utley’s one-man stumble.
The Chase, as I’ll call it from hereon, occurred with the sacks jacked and one out in the sixth. Chad Durbin had already checked himself out of the game, and Scott Eyre and Ryan Madson were walking the tightrope, put in precarious situations. Russell Martin lined one square to Utley, who snared the ball. With runners going and retreating, Utley hustled to beat Rafael Furcal back to the bag. The Chase was on, and by a second, Utley beat Furcal. By a second, we could have a different ballgame.
“I guess I was just in the right place at the right time. Everything happened so fast. I just tried to get there before the runner did.”
Utley has made some incredible plays, especially in the postseason, but none has been as important.