Utley’s Hot Start

Chase UtleyCubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija had a rough afternoon Saturday against Chase Utley, but he should not feel alone.

Utley finished Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs at Wrigley Field hitting .458 (11-for-24) with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and a 1.369 OPS. He entered the afternoon ranked third in the National League in batting average, total bases (18) and slugging percentage (.857).

“He’s right on the dish, he has a short swing and he loves the ball in,” said Samardzija, who allowed a home run, single and walk to Utley. “As a pitcher, it puts you in a tough spot right off the bat. You need to attack him right away and see how his approach is. To know his power zone is in and he’s on top of the dish, he covers the plate, not to mention, he has a great eye. You add that together and you have one tough out, especially when he’s healthy. He’s a good player, man. The more times you get him out, the better you can navigate around their lineup.”

Utley hit the 300th double of his career Saturday, which is eighth on the franchise list. He is just the third player in Phillies history to collect 300 doubles, 200 home runs, 800 RBIs and 100 stolen bases, joining Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt and teammate Jimmy Rollins.

Utley picked up the 814th RBI of his career in Sunday’s 8-3 loss, which moved him into a tie with Bobby Abreu for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time list.

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