Coming into the 2014 season there were many question marks surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies and how they would fare with one of the oldest teams in the majors. One of these question marks was how second baseman Chase Utley would perform now that he was healthy from the start of the season and apparently nothing nagging him for the first time in years. Twelve games into the season the answer to that question is, pretty well.
During the Phillies’ 4-3 win today against the Miami Marlins, Utley went 3 for 4 with a homer and a walk. In his first 40 at-bats, Utley has 20 hits (.500) which according to Elias, makes him the first Phillies player to have a 20 for 40 stretch since Von Hayes did it during the 1989 season. The 35-year old also has a on-base percentage of .565 which tops the majors and is second in the majors in total bases with 35.
The Phillies just finished off a sweep of the Marlins in which Utley was 7 for 12 with 4 RBI. The Phillies seemed to be going in the wrong direction after getting swept by the Brewers at home before the Marlins’ series. Granted, the Marlins are not a powerhouse and many prognosticators have the Marlins as the only team worse than the Phillies in the division. However, those three games are big for the Phils as they continue to try to make one last run with their aging roster.
If Utley can keep some semblance of this hot start and Ryan Howard can find some consistency once the weather warms up (typically he has slow starts), the Phillies have a chance. There are other question marks for the Phillies (the bullpen has been horrendous in the first dozen games), but Utley is clearly trying to remind people that he is still one of the best second basemen in baseball and that he’s got plenty left in the tank.