Utley's Deep September Funk
He is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and is hitting .083 (3-for-36) with a triple and two RBIs in his last 10 games. He is hitting just .193 (22-for-114) with three doubles, three triples, two home runs and nine RBIs in September.
“He gets worn down physically and mentally,” Charlie Manuel said. “He needs some rest.”
Manuel rested Utley Thursday and pulled him after the third inning in today’s 4-3 loss to the Marlins. He should rest in the season finale tomorrow.
Looking back, Utley could have used more rest earlier this season, especially coming of surgery on his right hip. Before Thursday, Utley had just two days off since May 24. That could explain why he has struggled so much this month. Utley works ridiculously hard during the season. He watches tons of film. He takes tons of extra hitting. The intense preparation seems to have taken its toll mentally. The physical beating he takes from playing every day seems to have taken its toll physically.
Here is a look at Utley’s career splits by month (average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage):
- April: .309/.390/.600
- May: .292/.382/.523
- June: .301/.383/.536
- July: .341/.407/.581
- August: .270/.366/.450
- September: .269/.357/466
- October (seven games, not including postseason): .227/.370/.591
The numbers suggest pretty strongly that Utley tires in August and September. In the future, Utley might be better served getting a few more days off during the season. Utley might not like it. Manuel might not like it. But would it be better to sacrifice Utley’s bat in the lineup a few times earlier in the season for more production down the stretch? It might.