The Dodgers beat the Phillies tonight, 15-5, and have temporarily vaulted themselves into first place in the NL West. However, nothing about the game matters more than Chase Utley‘s return to Philadelphia and the amazing reception he got.
Prior to his first plate appearance to lead the game off, Utley received an extended standing ovation from the home crowd, gave a curtain call, and they actually booed when the first pitch of the game was called a strike.
Later in the game, Utley hit a solo homer, and he not only received a standing ovation but also had to take another curtain call.
How’d he follow that up? By hitting a grand slam. No, seriously.
Just amazing to watch.
Everything else sort of pales in comparison to that, but the Dodgers got a win, so the recap will still be worth it.
The Dodgers offense was shutdown for the first four innings of the game, and it looked like Dodgers fans were gonna be in for a long night. Fortunately, the curse of Dodgers Digest writers on pitchers works on the opposing team as well.
This is more like the VV I thought the Dodgers were going to get last time.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 17, 2016
Later in the inning, as previously mentioned, Utley followed with a solo blast to right-center field.
Grandal also came into play in the sixth frame when he blasted a two-run shot of his own with Adrian Gonzalez (single) on base.
So that made everything more comfortable, but the game was truly blown open in the seventh when the Dodgers put up another crooked number.
Utley started the mess off with a walk, Corey Seager then doubled, and Justin Turner reached on an infield single. With the bases loaded and one down, A-Gon got hit by a pitch to score Seager, Grandal walked to score Turner, and Joc Pederson also walked to score Josh Reddick (replaced Utley after ground out). Rob Segedin then pinch hit for Kenta Maeda and singled to left to score a run, furthering the theory that he is invincible with the bases loaded. I buy it.
Of course, the next batter was Utley, and of course Utley hit a grand slam. Seriously ridiculous. The feel for the moment is almost disturbing.
The Dodgers added insurance runs in the ninth after Joc doubled to center and Howie followed that with a triple off the wall in right-center to score Joc. Kendrick himself later scored on a Segedin grounder to get a run home.
In total, the offense put up a 15 spot on the Phillies staff, totalling 14 hits (four homers, one triple, two doubles) and five walks.
On the other side of the ball, Maeda turned in another quality start. He went six innings on 93 pitches and probably could’ve gone another had the offense not blown the game open. Maeda gave up two runs on two solo homers, but otherwise surrendered just one hit and one walk while striking out nine batters.
Pedro Baez continues his maddening fluctuation between dominant reliever and mediocre reliever, giving up a two-run dinger in his inning of work. Baez has now given up runs in three of the last four outings after going 15 appearances without doing so. It’s maddening.
J.P. Howell also gave up a run on three hits in his inning of work, and he didn’t help himself out when he failed to cover first on a grounder to the right side.
To close out the game, the Dodgers brought on Casey Fien, who was just activated off the disabled list. Fien worked around a terrible lazy-ass error by Reddick in right to pitch a scoreless inning in his return.
With the win, the Dodgers improve to 66-52 overall and are back to .500 at 28-28 on the road. The Giants are currently playing, so for now the Dodgers are tied for the NL West lead.
The Dodgers get the Phillies again tomorrow night at 1:05 PM HST/4:05 PM PST/7:05 PM EST, and the pitching matchup will be Scott Kazmir (4.44 ERA/4.39 FIP/4.50 DRA) against Jake Thompson (8.68 ERA/5.00 FIP/4.76 DRA).