Burnett Struggles Early, Cubs Blow Out Phillies 8-3 – Phillies Nation
2014 Game Recaps

Burnett Struggles Early, Cubs Blow Out Phillies 8-3

There was a classic Chase Utley at-bat today. #Phillies GIF: on Twitpic

Chase Utley gets hit by a pitch for the 157th time in his career

After outscoring the Cubs 9-2 in the first two games of the series, the Phillies were outscored 8-3 on Sunday afternoon as they failed to sweep the Cubs in Chicago for the first time since 2009.

Burnett Struggles Early

-AJ Burnett struggled early in this ball game. Burnett faced eight batters in the first inning, walking three of them, and gave up all four of his earned runs here. Burnett struggled controlling his pitches as he walked six batters. However, he did manage to settle down after the first inning and went on to pitch 4 2/3 more innings without giving up any earned runs. Burnett finished the game with 5 2/3 innings pitched, striking out three, and giving up five hits. Burnett was charged with eight total runs, four earned, and four unearned after Ben Revere’s error in the sixth inning.

-Brad Lincoln made his Phillies debut in the sixth inning by recording the final out. Lincoln gave up a single to Anthony Rizzo which lead to a run, before getting Nate Schierholtz to fly out to end the inning. It is a bit curious as to why manager Ryne Sandberg waited until the sixth game of the season to debut Lincoln. However, he did look solid in his brief appearance as he threw eight of his twelve pitches for strikes. It will be interesting to see where Sandberg utilizes Lincoln moving forward.

-Right-hander Jeff Manship continued to look good early on in the season as he pitched the final two innings for the Phillies giving up no hits, one walk, zero runs, and striking out two.

Ryne Sandberg Misses First Challenge

-Ryne Sandberg made his first challenge of the year in the top of the fifth inning after Utley was ruled out on a close play at first base. In my eyes, Utley appeared to reach first base just as the ball was hitting the glove of Cub’s first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Sandberg went out to talk to first base umpire CB Bucknor, before getting confirmation from Larry Bowa in the dugout to challenge. The call on the field stood, however, as the video replay evidence was not strong enough to overturn the original call. Utley was credited with a RBI on the play as Ben Revere scored.

-The Phillies offense missed a great opportunity in the fourth inning when they had bases loaded and only one out. Cody Asche grounded into a fielder’s choice to Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva who threw to home plate to record the second out. AJ Burnett then weakly flied out to center field. While it was still early in the game, this may have been a situation where Sandberg should have thought about pinch-hitting for AJ Burnett. With the Phillies down 4-0 and the bases loaded this was an opportunity for them to get back in the ball game. Sandberg has already shown this year he is not afraid to make some bold moves, and Burnett only went on to pitch another 1 2/3 innings.

-The Phillies would get one more bases-loaded opportunity in the ninth inning. Asche scored on a Rollins fielder’s choice, and Revere crossed home plate after a wild pitch by Cub’s relief pitcher Pedro Strop. However, it was too little too late as Ryan Howard’s fly out to center ended the threat and the game.

-Chase Utley continued his torrid start to the season by getting on base three more times in this contest and raising his OBP to .536. This included being hit by a pitch in the first inning in typical Utley fashion. You may refer to the above video for what has become a staple in his career. Remarkably, that was the 157th time that Utley has been hit by a pitch in his career.



  1. Hogey's Role

    April 6, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I agree that utley looked safe on that play by at least a whisker and if not doesn’t the tie go to the runner??

  2. DavidE

    April 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    The defense fell apart in the 6th inning. Besides Revere’s drop, Jimmy Rollins should have stepped on the bag for the final out in that 6th inning. I guess he wasn’t aware that there was a slow runner on 1st.

  3. schmenkman

    April 7, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Utley’s 157th HBP tied him with Fernando Vina for 18th most All-time. The Phillie with the next most is Mike Lieberthal with 88.

  4. schmenkman

    April 7, 2014 at 7:24 am

    After the first week, Utley is baseball’s best player, by fWAR (0.7).

    He’s baseball’s 3rd best hitter (by wOBA, .585), or 2nd best (by wRC+ 292).
    He’s 5th in average (.458), 7th in OBP (.536), 2nd in Slugging (.833), and 2nd in OPS (1.369).

    • Lefty

      April 7, 2014 at 8:20 am

      Career numbers are very good in both Wrigley and (6 games) Texas.

      He looks healthy, that’s most important to me at this point.

      • schmenkman

        April 7, 2014 at 8:36 am

        Yep, agreed. One week’s stats are more a matter of trivia than anything else.

    • wbramh

      April 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Just an amazing player when you think about it.
      Aside from his natural talent he has had to overcome injuries that would have ended most careers. And while his bum knees continued make him struggle defensively you get the feeling that he has still has the capacity to recover some of his mobility in that department, too.
      Utley obviously has the capacity to take pain, otherwise he would have been sidelined a few dozen times from some of the 1 million pitches he’s he’s stopped with different parts of his body.

      • photoFred

        April 7, 2014 at 9:22 am

        You have to wonder if instinct got the better of common sense, taking a ball to the knee of all places. Still, he stayed in the game.

      • Lefty

        April 7, 2014 at 9:43 am

        Fred, I as thinking the same thing watching the replay, no! not the knee!

  5. Bruce

    April 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I noticed the writer’s comment regarding Utley’s 157th time that he has been hit by a pitch in his career as if it was a ‘macho’ accomplishment. We all know of his lengthy stay on the DL when a pitch struck him on the wrist some years back. It is the one thing I don’t understand about Utley all these years I have seen him play. He would never move out of harm’s way from an errant pitch. He merely turns his back without jumping out of the way.like most batters with common sense would do.

    • Hogey's Role

      April 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I think that’s part of the old school way of the game… My way of thinking was hit or get hit, get on base and make something happen, everyone knows the risks associated with hbp’s and baseball in general, it’s all part of the game… I love utley no matter what, someday if I have kids that’s how I’m gonna teach them to play the game, the right way

  6. bacardipr

    April 8, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I think it is partly a macho thing, but more so whatever it takes to win or score. However, he may want to re-examine those times. For example if they up by 5 runs at 8th inning.

    • schmenkman

      April 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Utley averaged 18 HBPs per year in 2005-2012, but only got hit 5 times last year. Many thought that may have been a conscious effort to avoid getting hit and reduce risk of injury, but the way he stuck his knee at that pitch on Sunday makes you wonder.

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