Struggling Utley Hits Walkoff in 14th – Phillies Nation

Struggling Utley Hits Walkoff in 14th

Chase Utley’s epic early season numbers have glided back to earth enough for us to notice, but not really care all that much. That’s because there’s so much else to complain about that it seems silly to bitch about Utley hitting .296 just before the calendar turns to July.

On Thursday, Utley hit a walkoff home run in the 14th inning to beat the Miami Marlins – it was his third career walkoff, and the home run placed him a tie with Greg Luzinski for 6th on the Phillies all-time list. But back to the struggles.

In June, even after last night, Utley is hitting just .242. Is this a sign of him slowing? Ryne Sandberg said prior to Thursday’s game that he isn’t overly concerned, and has been steadfast in his belief. When asked if it’s hard to take him out of the lineup, Sandberg danced around the topic a bit, although the answer is probably a hearty “yes.”

While the Phillies would probably like to give Utley a day a week to rest, they’re jostling for positioning and can ill-afford to have their best player hit the pine for too long. Cesar Hernandez has been a fine backup who should see a little more of the field, but Sandberg can’t seem to bring himself to do it.

Personally, I do think more rest is needed, and as Sandberg said he’ll try to pick his spots accordingly. He’ll likely see a day off this weekend following last night’s marathon and a double-header on Saturday, plus an early start Sunday. But the more Utley plays, the more he runs himself into the ground. Rest is necessary, but how much?



  1. Lefty

    June 27, 2014 at 9:33 am

    IMO- Save the days off for road trips. I know I don’t want to pay for a ticket and not have him in the lineup the four or five nights a year I get to go.

    • TimC

      June 27, 2014 at 10:23 am

      While I hear what you’re saying Lefty, Utley is batting .281 at home and .312 on the road. Also, he’s batting .320 with 5 of his HR’s in just 25 day games (out of 74 games played in). So it would almost suggest he should be in every day game with the night before off. In the case of this weekend, let him play saturday during the day, and sunday day. Sit out, be available for PH saturday night. Then there is a natural off day on Monday.

  2. George

    June 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hasn’t anybody heard of a streaky hitter? Utley has always pretty much fit that description.

    Rest might help, but rest might also create rust, which is something no player wants when trying to break out of a slump.

    One game off during the Braves series would probably be in order, due to last night’s marathon and a doubleheader Saturday. But he still needs to be in there for most games.

    • Chuck A.

      June 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      I don’t think anyone was or is suggesting anything more than a game off at a time, here and there. Certainly not something where rust will form and accumulate.

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