Thursday, April 25, 2013

2003 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition #164 Chase Utley

Pirates 5, Phillies 3
Game 22 - Wednesday Night, April 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 9-13, 4th Place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  For the first time this season, the Phillies lost a game when leading after the sixth inning, as the bullpen handed a 5-3 win to the Pirates.

What It Means:  After winning two in a row, the Phils had lost two in a row at this point.  (It got worse earlier this afternoon.)

What Went Wrong:  Reliever Mike Adams had been extremely dependable so far this season, but he couldn't record an out in the eighth inning of this game.  Adams allowed two hits and two walks as the Pirates took a 4-3 lead.  The Pirates scored an insurance run in the ninth when Chase Utley couldn't corral a Starling Marte pop-up that fell in for a triple.

The Phillies went 2 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.  On the bright side, Roy Halladay has hopefully found the cure to his early season woes.  He threw 95 pitches in his six innings of work, allowing a run on one hit while striking out eight.

Featured Card:  Hard to believe Harry, but yesterday was the tenth anniversary of Utley's first Major League home run – a grand slam off the Rockies' Aaron Cook.  My wife Jenna likes to point out that she was there the afternoon Utley hit his blast, while I was diligently working at my former employer. 

Utley has shown no lingering effects from his bad knees so far this season.  He added two more hits, including a solo home run, in this game to raise his season average to .308.  He has shown good range at second and he's back to running the bases with aggressive abandon.  The card featured here is one of the few 2003 Utley baseball cards in my collection, and it's from one of the more ridiculously named sets of that year.

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