Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
8/12/2004
 
Chase
At first thought, having Chase Utley bat in the third slot Wednesday night may seem like a bit of a stretch. While playing well at the plate and in the field in 61 games this year, his career is not long enough to have proven himself as a run producer. In other words, he doesn't have the gravitas.

But a closer look at his statistics for this year prove it may not be such a stretch. In 187 at-bats this year, Utley has 12 HR's and 43 RBI. Extrapolated out to 500 at-bats, Utley's numbers would be 32 HR's and 114 RBI. Not too shabby, especially for a young second baseman. Additionally, Utley's .829 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) ranks third among able-bodied Phillies batters.

Sure, you'd like to have a higher on-base percentage in the three-hole (Utley is getting on base only 30% of the time) and of course extrapolating 187 at-bats to 500 AB's is certainly not the same as actually having 500 AB's. But given the Phillies other options at this point, it would be wise for Larry Bowa to continue with this lineup for at least a few more games.



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