Probably downplaying the emotional weight of a certain flint-eyed infielder returning home for the first time since being moved by management to another team, as if pen on paper and money changing hands could ever remove him from this city. As if it could even come close to removing him.
Damn it, Justin, you weren’t going to fade into an impassioned Utley interlude in the first paragraph. You promised people. You made assurances. And here we are. Who even is on the Dodgers? Chase Utley and not Yasiel Puig are my only answers right now. Who knows. Who cares.
Howie Kendrick: The non-Utley middle infielder on the Dodgers is 10-for-his-last-20 with a home run and five doubles. When Phillies pitchers start making mistakes, and they will, Kendrick will be there to drive them into the gap.
Corey Seager: The last time these teams met, the Phillies beat the Dodgers, knocked them out of first place, and Seager got tagged by a pitch on the wrist, worrying all eight of the Dodgers fans. He seems okay, though, in the middle of a six-game hit streak and all.
Joc Pederson: Where’s the “K” at the end of this guy’s name? Oh, I see it; in fact, I see four of them in his last 17 AB. This joke is made irrelevant by the fact that he also has seven hits, five of which were for extra bases (and two home runs).
Ryan Howard: The big man was gearing up for seeing his old friend again this week, knocking a double, a home run, five hits, and eight RBI in his limited AB over the last seven days.
Aaron Altherr: This Heavy Hitters mainstay continued his 2016 “Not F****** Around” Tour with six hits in his last five games.
Freddy Galvis: Why does Freddy Galvis have two home runs in his last 16 AB?
Kenta Maeda vs. Vince Velasquez
Maeda hasn’t lasted seven innings in a start since over a month ago. But that hasn’t stopped him from winning that sweet, sweet cash.
Rob Segedin PH for Kenta Maeda who struggled to get thru 5 IP tonight. But that struggle is rewarded -- another $250K bonus for 130 IP— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 10, 2016
No one knows what he would get for beating the Phillies. Maybe Utley will wink at him.
Meanwhile, Pete Mackanin became critical of his starter the last time Velasquez pitched against the Dodgers, saying the 24-year-old didn’t use his change-up enough. He talked to Velasquez about it. VV “didn’t quite agree.”
Pete Mackanin criticized Vince Velasquez about not throwing the changeup last night. Threw it 18% of the time. Season average is 11.1%.— John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) August 10, 2016
Scott Kazmir vs. Jake Thompson
Sure you want to trot Scott “Kazmir” out there for this one, Dave Roberts? You don’t think Chase Utley will take that as a personal affront to his legendary walk-up song? Oh right; I keep forgetting that Chase is just coming to Philadelphia, not playing for the Phillies for the next three days.
When you melt down in your big league debut, the threshold for a “bounce back” game is significantly lower. That’s why everyone is thrilled Thompson lasted five innings and gave up only three runs in his last start; because it wasn’t the ball-bashing affair that resulted in his first start that helped get him his current 8.68 ERA. Remembering that, perhaps Thompson will use the momentum only achieved by pitchers who log four strikeouts in a single inning to go for the gusto.
Bud Norris vs. Jerad Eickhoff
Not sure what Eickhoff is doing when he’s forced to go through an opposing lineup for the third time, but whatever it is, it doesn’t fool anyone. Eickhoff can cruise through the early innings, but that fifth or sixth frame rolls around (He’s got a 12.71 sixth inning ERA) and he starts getting battered like a pitch thrown to Chase Utley at Citi Field.
Fresh out of Rancho Cucamonga with a rehab start, Bud Norris is ready to go in the finale. They made him wear a Dora the Explorer book bag down in the minors. Welcome back, Bud.
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