CC Sabathia was dominating in Game 1. But Chase Utley has other things in his mind. Utley homered twice of Sabathia giving the Phillies a convincing 1-0 lead in the World Series.
The Yankees were simply spooked. If only Chase Utley is not in the Phillies' line-up it will be a different ballgame. Utley has good hits against our Ace and No.1 guy CC Sabathia (a left hander). Chase Utley bats left and is known to struggle against left handed pitchers but scouting reports says Utley is also good against lefties. Utley is a tough out.
So what do you do then? Can you walk him? If Utley is playing with the Washington Nationals or the Baltimore Orioles you can walk him.
The problem is Utley is playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, the defending champions and No. 1 in home runs in the National League. The Phillies line-up is as strong and deep as the Yankees. And Utley has protection from NLCS MVP Ryan Howard and Jason Werth.
You may think twice before giving Utley a free pass. Did I tell you that Utley is a pretty good base stealer. He stole 23 base this season and is good on picking his spots (never been caught). So the probable scenario is if the Yankees intentionally walk Utley and he managed to stole 2nd base, you got powerful sluggers on deck with Howard, Werth and Ibanez batting 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. And that is assuming base stealers Rollins and Victorino are not on base who are batting 1st and 2nd.
The good news for the Yankees is Chase Utley have the tendency to have a slump (like most MLB player experience in their careers). In the NLDS, Utley batted .429 AVE, with 1 homer and 1 RBI. But in the NLCS, Utley just batted .211 AVE, 0 home runs, and 1 RBI.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Utley's bat came alive in Game 1 of the World Series. Will Utley still carry his hot streak in the following games? We don't know. What we know is Utley homered twice against our stud pitcher Sabathia. If Utley can do that to Sabathia. I bet he can do that too to Burnett and Pettitte. It doesn't look good for the Yankees pitching staff.
So how do we stop Chase Utley. First is not to be intimidated. Show to Utley you can bring the heat. Utley is a patient hitter, throw more strikes but be careful not to pitch it on the center of the plate. Watch the game played in the 2009 NLCS. See how the Dodgers pitchers throw their pitches to Utley. You may get a tip or two on how to beat him.
For the Yankees, to win the World Series, they have to slow down the Phillies heart of the line-up. Chase Utley is one of them. If somehow the Yankees managed to control Utley, the road to their 27th World Series will become more clearer.
Posted On Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at at 7:57 PM by Francis Isberto