PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a double in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals of Game One of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The NL favorite to make the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies, were down early in game 1 of the NLDS series, but their bats woke up to score 10 runs in the last 3 innings to beat the Cardinals 11-6.
The Phillies offense scored 5 runs in the 6th inning, all on home runs from Ryan Howard, who hit a long 3-ruin homer, and Raul Ibanez who followed a Shane Victorino single with a 2-run homer. Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse held the Phillies to one run in the first five innings, but the Phillies bats took over in the 6th and never looked back.
The Cardinals took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning after a single and a stolen base from leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal, a walk to Albert Pujols and a long home run from Lance Berkman. But after that 3 run first inning, and a leadoff single to start the second, Phillies starter Roy Halladay retired 21 Cardinals in a row to completely shutdown the Cardinals bats.
Halladay held the Cardinals to 3 runs in 8 innings, giving up just 3 hits, a walk and striking out 8. There probably isn't another pitcher in baseball that I would rather have on the mound in game 1 of a playoff series than Halladay.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley went 3-5 with 2 doubles and 3 runs scored batting in the second spot in the Phillies lineup. Utley struggled in August, hitting .245 and in September, hitting just .205, but if he can get hot in the playoffs, opposing NL teams will have a difficult time beating the Phillies.
Utley had a down year at the plate, hitting just .259-.344-.425 with 11 HRs, 44 RBI, 54 runs scored and 14 SBs in just under 400 at bats. Even though he had a down year overall, he maintained an excellent 47-39 K/BB rate, but also had a career low line drive rate of 12.7% and HR/FB% of 6.7%.
I will have more on Utley when I review my 2011 preseason position rankings over the next few weeks, and wonder how far he will fall in the 2012 second base rankings.