Utley Passes the Audition in Phils’ Loss


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With incessant, pesky trade rumors buzzing around him like biting flies on a warm, breezy Jersey shore beach, Chase Utley put on a show last night at Miller Park in Milwaukee for scouts in attendance and a half-dozen contenders following him.

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Unfortunately for the Phillies, their beloved 2008 World Series hero was about the only one putting on any kind of show, as the team dropped a mostly listless 3-1 decision to the host Brewers.

On a night when storms ripped through the city, disrupting even the TV broadcasts back to Philly, the retractable roof at Miller Park allowed the action to go on without interruption. But Brewers’ starting pitcher Wily Peralta certainly disrupted the Phils’ bats.

In the midst of a disappointing season for the talented 26-year old, Peralta (3-7) mostly dominated the Phillies on this night. He lasted 7 full shutout innings, allowing just 6 hits and walking a pair.

Half of the hits that he allowed were off the bat of Utley. The Phils’ veteran doubled with one out in the 3rd, singled to lead off the top of the 5th, and singled with two outs in the 7th. On that 3rd hit, Utley was put out at 2nd base when he tried to stretch it to a double, overslid the bag, and was tug out.

The Brewers had built a 3-0 lead to that point for Peralta, getting to Phils’ rookie starter Adam Morgan for a run in the 2nd inning and a pair in the 3rd. In the 2nd, Khris Davis deposited his 12th homer of the season over the right center wall. In the 3rd, Hernan Perez led off with a double and scored on a one-out RBI single by Jean Segura.

When the throw went to the plate on his hit, Segura hustled to 2nd base. The next batter, Jonathan Lucroy, launched a drive to deepest center field. Odubel Herrera ran it down, nearly colliding with Domonic Brown. Segura, again hustling, tug up and came all the way around on the play, barely beating the throw home. Replay upheld the run, putting the hosts up 3-0.

Morgan (3-4) deserved a better fate than that which the Phillies’ offense delivered. He went 6 strong innings, allowing just 3 hits, with 52 of his 81 pitches going for strikes. Reliever Elvis Araujo, who our Ethan Witte highlighted in a piece here at TBOH just yesterday, then shut out the Brew Crew, as did Hector Neris.

The Brewers bullpen kept the Phillies’ bats in check as well, however. That is, until Utley got another shot in the 9th inning. Cody Asche led off that 9th with a double against Brewers’ veteran closer Francisco ‘KRod’ Rodriguez. Then with two outs, Utley brought him home, breaking up the shutout with his 4th hit of the night.

That would be all that the Phillies could muster on this night, as Rodriguez closed out the game for his 27th Save of the season. With the win the Brewers, suffering through a poor season themselves, moved to 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phils in the overall National League standings.

Meanwhile, the story for Phillies fans remained their iconic 2nd baseman. With a pair of scouts reportedly in attendance from the Los Angeles Angels, and with the Halos’ division rivals Houston Astros reportedly now joining the pursuit, Utley is now being closely watched by at least a half-dozen contenders including those two clubs and the Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees.

There is a very real possibility that any Phillies fan who watched last night’s game on TV was watching Utley in their favorite team’s uniform for the final time. He put on quite the show for those other teams, demonstrating not only that he could still hit, but that he was fully healthy as well. If it was indeed his finale, much as with his buddy Cole Hamels last month, it was a memorable way for ‘The Man’ to go out.