Chase Utley Loses to Braves in Opener, 7-5
"“Holds were a problem and a problem compounded much of the season by the lack of power from the missing bats of Utley and Howard.”—Philebrity“Amaro Jr. is banking that if Howard, Utley and Rollins can all play to their potential, the trio will one again make the Phillies a contender.”—NJ.com“Hardware or not, Utley has been one of the top players of his generation, and the skills are intact for him to ease into the twilight of his career.”—Deadspin"
Apr 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) drives in two runs with a base hit against the Atlanta Braves during the fifth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Phillies 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
On and on they went about Chase (and Ryan, but that’ll be another night). Like he couldn’t hear them. Like he could chew on their words for breakfast every morning.
“We need you Chase,” we’d whine. “Need.”
There was no denying the betterment of this team with Chase Utley in its lineup. And he was in it on Opening Day.
In it… to the max.
“Need,” we’d say again. And people would be like, “Oh my god shut up.”
So, where to begin? Cole Hamels, I guess. I don’t know if you heard, but he saved his mustache. It was terrible. Nobody’s happy. His commitment was, naturally, under scrutiny. And then the first game of the year started.
Apr 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8) (right) reacts with his brother center fielder B.J. Upton (2) after hitting a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta scored immediately, and then again, and then again. They, as everyone in the known universe said at the time, will hit many home runs this season. Like they did tonight! Many, many home runs. Cole got shelled for three all by himself, courtesy of Freddie Freeman (1st), Dan Uggla (2nd), and Justin Upton (5th). They accounted for four runs, before Chad Durbin entered the game and just made things even worse.
Literally. He did nothing to make it better. Durbin recorded no outs, but when he left the game, runners were on second and third. It was like watching a nature program about things getting utterly devoured. His runs came in kind of immediately, but in the final three innings, Jeremy Horst and Phillippe Aumont gave up a combined one hit and zero runs. It was the Phillies’ game to lose.
And they lost it.
Apr 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Phillies 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
But not without the aforementioned Utley. He knocked in the first run with a homer, knocked in the next two with an RBI double, and scored the next one after tripling.
The amount of runs he knocked in or scored himself equals the total of the runs the Phillies scored tonight. Ryan Howard – predominantly a nonfactor tonight – had a sac fly and turkey bacon commercial star Erik Kratz had an RBI single to push in Utley and keep people watching.
Ben Revere looking fantastic, taking pitches, making guys throw a lot, getting on base, and stealing at whim. Somewhere at the top of this lineup, he is going to be massively effective, especially if Utley, and hopefully other people, keep up the ability to get him around.
Michael Young went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks (one IBB) and Dom Brown, who came up in the game’s biggest moment with the bases loaded after Young’s IBB and grounded out to second quickly, was 1-for-3 with a walk and a lot of people making disappointed clicking noises with their mouths.
When it all went wrong
Dom Brown not bashing a thousand runs with the bases loaded and the Phillies mounting a heroic comeback and instead bashing a no-run weak bouncer to second.
Chase Utley’s return to the lineup on Opening Day proved he was the dynamo we all suspected he wasn’t being before by not being there.
Freddie Freeman set the tone for the Braves early, hitting a home run when he was supposed to shut the hell up.