Chase Utley Had A Pretty Good Week
With six games in the books, the Phillies are now merely 3.2% of the way through the 2014 baseball season and everything that has occurred thus far falls under “small sample size” caveats. Although we are largely unable to extrapolate meaningful data and trends from what we’ve seen the Phillies do this past week, what we can do is savor the game that has mercifully returned to our television sets for our regular 7:05 (or 8:05 or 2:20) appointments. The return of Phillies baseball brought enjoyable moments including Jimmy Rollins’ opening day slam and a superb start by Kyle Kendrick, but the most impressive achievement was the display Chase Utley put on this week for Philadelphia fans desperate for meaningful baseball after an impossibly long and snowy winter.
Remember when there were concerns over Chase Utley’s lack of power and production at the plate in spring training? He wasted no time at all putting those concerns to rest. Through the first six games of the regular season, his .458/.536/.833 slash line looks like it’s straight out of a video game and his National League leading 1.369 OPS is reminiscent of 2001-2004 vintage Barry Bonds. He has hit safely in every game of the season, giving him an active 11-game hit streak when counting back to the end of the 2013 season. The 11 hits he’s already recorded puts him on pace for what would be a record shattering 297 hits this year. Gosh, it’s almost as though spring training performance means nothing.
I tend to shy away from prognosticating, but I feel fairly confident in asserting that we will not see Utley approach 300 hits this season or challenge Nap Lajoie‘s modern day record single season batting average record (.427). Chase’s pace will slow, but as long as he’s hitting like Ted Williams reincarnated, we might as well enjoy the show.
Here are a few highlights from Chase Utley’s week:
1) Utley’s go-ahead 2-run HR on Friday afternoon
2) Utley’s solo shot on Saturday
3) The 300th double of Utley’s career
What does Utley’s scorching hot start mean? Honestly? Not much. It guarantees neither the health nor the future production of the Phillies’ oft-injured second baseman, but, as a wise man once said, who cares? Watching baseball is fun and watching a player like Chase Utley dominate on the baseball field is thrilling whether or not it’s a sign of things to come.