A year ago, Chase Utley wasn’t Chase Utley. He’s back, leading a vicious, deep and unforgiving Phillies attack.
We now know that a hidden hip injury hindered the All-Star second baseman for half the season, thus, any lingering doubt that Utley faded in big spots should be put to bed. Utley, who homered twice yesterday, is leading an opportunistic offense that isn’t leaving many ducks on the pond. “Clutchly,” or is it “Clutley,” or possibly “Utch,” is slugging .806 with runners on base and .737 with runners in scoring position. Others have joined the party. Seven-hole sleeper Pedro Feliz is a .500 hitter with RISP following yesterday’s three-run homer. People talk about Utley’s recovery but quickly forget Feliz’s healthy back. This is the best he’s looked as a Phillie. It continues right on down the line w/RISP: Shane Victorino (.357); Raul Ibanez (.318); Jayson Werth (.316).
Park factors: I haven't been able to find these for 2009. If you find them, I'd love to know how Citizens Bank Park ranks. Thx.
Minor notes: At Triple-A, the combination of Gary Majewski, Mike Koplove and Tyler Walker have pitched 31.2 innings and have given up 2 earned runs for an impressive ERA of 0.57. Their 18 hits, 11 walks and 26 strikeouts add up to a 0.91 WHIP. Walker has been the most impressive thus far, commanding three pitches and making opponents look fairly ridiculous. Both Koplove and Majewski have also performed well, although Koplove has had some control issues, issuing 7 walks in 11.2 innings. All three should be considered viable candidates for the Phils in case of emergency. (Report courtesy of Gregg Shore)
At Double-A, Reading Phillies beat writer Mike Drago recalls “The Four Aces,” Dave Coggin, Randy Knoll, Rob Burger and Jason Kershner, and warns against false hope that can be built before pitchers reach Double-A. Drago calls 21-year-old Michael Stutes and 22-year-old Vance Worley “intriguing,” noting that no pitcher has jumped directly from the Sally League to Reading since Brett Myers and Mark Outlaw in 2001. Read his piece here.