Monday, May 23, 2011

Phillies offense explodes in Utley's return

Chase Utley is so good, he can go 0 for 5 and still spark the Phillies offense.

Utley's return lit a fire under the Phillies offense, just not in the way we all expected. Behind a 7 run second inning that saw them bat around, the Phillies exploded for double-digit runs as they drubbed the Reds, 10-3, in Utley's return to the lineup. It was the most runs the Phillies have scored since April 29th against the Mets.

While one would think that Utley sparked the offensive outburst, the Phils did all of their damage without Utley, who made solid contact a few times but failed to find a hole. Every Phillie starter, including pitcher Cole Hamels, managed a hit in the game, with five of them picking up at least two hits. Maybe the players were just as excited about Utley's return as the fans?

Call it the Chase Utley effect or simply call it a coincidence, it sure was nice to see the Phillies offense awaken after being dormant for most of the season. While Utley didn't directly have an impact in the scoring tonight, his return makes the lineup that much stronger from top to bottom. If he can play at even 75% of his ability for the rest of the season, he will be a massive upgrade over Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr. If this is the spark that lights the Phillies offense through the rest of the summer, the rest of the NL should probably just give up now.

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