His name is Chase Utley.
And don't you ever forget it.
The Phillies had plenty of chances to score today. They had 13 hits and six walks, and they left 13 guys on base. By the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phillies and the Marlins were tied. They each had three runs, but the Marlins managed those on just six hits and three walks. I have to give credit to Kyle Kendrick here. He went six innings and in that time surrendered all the hits and walks and runs that the Marlins would earn today. He even racked up seven strikeouts. And I have to extend that credit to the bullpen as well. Ryne Sandberg asked them for three clean innings, and that's what they gave him. Innings seven, eight, and nine were devoid of Marlins hits and walks. BJ Rosenberg notched two strikeouts. Bastardo got the win. And Papelbon got the save.
But who cares about any of that. That's not why you're here reading this. You want me to talk about Chase Utley. That's good, because he's all I really want to talk about. That last paragraph? I had to include that because this is technically a game recap and not the Chase Utley Fun Time Awesome Hour. Though now I think that's totally something I'm going to start doing.
Chase Utley came into today hitting .472 in nine games. Two home runs, four walks, five doubles, and a nine game hitting streak. That was all before today. Now that today's game is over, all those stats looks stupid.
Chase Utley is hitting .500 in ten games this season. .500. That means he's had a hit in half of his at-bats, 20 of 40. He had three hits today, including a double and a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning. I know you wanna see that gorgeous home run, and as a fellow Chase Utley aficionado I'd never deny you that opportunity.
I mean my god. I bet that baseball is bragging to all of her friends in baseball heaven. "Yeah, you see this mark? That's from Chase Utley's bat. I'm going to cherish it for all of eternity..." But that's not all. Utley also walked today, and didn't strike out once. Actually, Utley has just two strikeouts all season. Two. Here, take a look at this insane thing:
Phillies 2B Chase Utley goes 3 for 4. He's now hitting .500 through 10 games this season pic.twitter.com/s3Q3SKWOGk— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 13, 2014
That's ridiculous, but that's what Chase Utley is doing right now. He's locked in. I thought he'd slow down after missing two games with the flu, but I was obviously dead wrong about that. Utley cannot be stopped. He's a monster. He's a shark. He's a baseball kaiju. Just get out of his way and let him do what he was clearly born to do -- play baseball.
The Phillies won today. They swept the Marlins, and they're back at a .500 record for the season. And despite Chase Utley's world engulfing awesomeness, it was a team effort. Ryan Howard homered, his second of the year, and he also walked *again*. Kendrick had a good outing. And the bullpen did what they're supposed to do.
The Phillies may be feast or famine this season, but I'm willing to put up with the famines if the feasts are this fun.
Oh man, even this game graph loves Chase Utley.
Look at that perky little jump in the eighth inning. I see you, game graph. You're trying to flirt with Chase Utley. Who can blame you?
On this day five years ago, we lost Harry Kalas. Hard to believe, Harry. It really is. It doesn't seem like five years, yet at the same time it seems like so much longer. So much has happened with the team in that time! I would give anything to hear him call Roy Halladay's perfect game. Or his postseason no-hitter! Or even Chase Utley's great game today. I feel it's appropriate on this day to share my favorite Harry Kalas call, which coincidentally features Chase Utley.
Chase lived up to that call today. And somewhere, Harry is smiling.