Utley Could Use A Break

utley01.jpgA few Phillies beat writers met with Chase Utley this afternoon. He talked about a variety of topics, but in my opinion the most interesting thing he said regarded playing time.

I’ve said for some time that Utley needs more rest than Charlie Manuel provides. Utley beats himself up during the course of a season. He wears down, and it hurts him at the plate late in the season.

Just take a look at Utley’s OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage) throughout his career:

March/April: .999
May: .905
June: .918
July: .988
August: .816
September/October: .825

You can see that Utley’s production drops late in the season because he is running out of gas. Knowing this trend, it would make much more sense to sacrifice Utley’s bat in the lineup one or two extra times a month earlier in the season so he remains fresh throughout.

Utley agrees.

“It might be beneficial on occasion, but it’s difficult,” Utley said. “You want to play. We all want to be out there every single day, no matter if you’re feeling good or bad. Before I gave Charlie a hard time when he wanted to give me a day off. Now I might not give him as hard a time. We’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.”


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It’s nice to hear Utley himself say that he might be willing to take a break if offered. Now, will he actually do so when it happens the first time this upcoming season.

Charlie had a press conference today and stated that he likes his bench and will use it. He can play Polanco at second and Dobbs at third when he rests Utley. He says that he likes Polanco in the #2 spot, so Shane will drop down to 6 or 7. He also said he likes the addition of Baez and Contreras. He is disappointed that Lee is gone, but he is looking at it from the perspective that the rotation is greatly improved from this time last year.

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