Thome Walks It Off; Utley Back By Wednesday?

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, June 24, 2012 03:55 AM | Comments: 7
2012 Game Recaps, Injuries

Chase Utley could return to the Phillies' lineup by Wednesday, according to CSNPhilly.com.

The good news for the Phillies on Saturday was two-fold — they had their second walkoff win of the season on Jim Thome‘s ninth inning opposite field solo home run, and according to CSNPhilly.com, Chase Utley is headed back to the Philadelphia area and could be back in the Phillies’ lineup by Wednesday.

Jim Salisbury reports that Utley, who for the first time this weekend played second base on consecutive days, will likely play in one more rehab game with Lehigh Valley — perhaps Tuesday — before joining the Phils.

That is big, big news, especially in the wake of the Phillies taking Game 1 of their final interleague series vs. the Rays in preparation for Sunday’s Cole Hamels-Cliff Lee doubleheader. This is suddenly a sweepable series, as the Phils hold pitching matchup advantages at 1:05 and 6:35 p.m. Sunday. I wrote at the outset of the 10-game homestand vs. the Rockies, Rays and Pirates that an 8-2 mark was necessary, as it would put the Phils back at .500, at 39-39. Wins on Sunday would make the Phils 5-1 with four games waiting vs. Pittsburgh.

But back to Saturday for a second…

  • Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the season, allowing two two-out runs in the ninth inning after Antonio Bastardo maneuvered his way out of trouble an inning earlier. It was Pap’s first blown save in 18 chances and the first two runs he’s allowed in a save situation.
  • Thome hit an opposite-field, line-drive home run off Rays lefthanded fireballer Jake McGee to start the ninth. It was Thome’s first pinch-hit of the season, he was previously 0-for-12. Charlie Manuel thought seeing plenty of pitches in the at-bat helped Thome get his timing, which has clearly been an issue for him in this role. Thome saw eight pitches.
  • Jimmy Rollins hit his sixth home run to start the scoring for the Phils. A 2-for-4 afternoon has Rollins all the way up to .263. He began the month batting .239.
  • Juan Pierre smacked a no-doubter for his first home run as a Phillie, a three-run shot. Pierre also created a run on the basepaths, when he lined a ball to second that Ben Zobrist missed and hustled the whole way to beat the throw to second. Pierre then stole third and scored on Carlos Ruiz‘ 0-2 bloop hit to right field. Pierre is hitting .328.
  • The Phillies’ win, coupled with the Marlins’ loss to the Blue Jays, catapults the Phillies out of last place in the NL East. The Phils are 34-38, 8.5 games behind the Nationals. The Marlins are 33-38, 9.0 back. Miami has lost six straight for the second time this month. The Fish are 4-16 in June.

Cole Hamels opposes David Price in a battle of stellar lefties in the afternoon of Sunday’s split admission doubleheader. Cliff Lee will face 24-year-old righty Alex Cobb at night.

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About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    “This is suddenly a sweepable series, as the Phils hold pitching matchup advantages at 1:05 and 6:35 p.m.”

    That might be a little optimistic. Starting pitcher wise, neither Price nor Cobb is a slouch, and it’s not like the Rays pen is rested, but with Valdes, Bastardo, and Papelbon having all thrown 30 pitches yesterday, the limited Phillies pen is even more limited. And not that this is a great way to think, but so many times this year, the Phils have hit a barrier, and at least myself, I’ve thought if they could just do this, or that, and they don’t. It’s an awfully limited roster for this moment. It’d be great, but I’d be very pleasantly surprised. I’m guessing BJ Rosenberg gets the 26th man call to staff the pen. Hopefully, that helps.

  • Posts: 2993 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    I would be willing to bet money that the Phillies will NOT sweep the Rays. And going 3-1 against the Pirates?? I’m not so sure. It’s not like they’re the Pirates of a few years ago.

    That said, kudos to Thome….awesome jack and awesome win.

    And here’s hoping (and it’s pure hope and nothing else at this point) that Chase makes it back this week….if for no other reason than to be a “presence” in the lineup. Anything else he does is pure gravy for me.

  • Posts: 5226 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I would be willing to bet money that the Phillies will NOT sweep the Rays. ( I know, not very original, but hey we got to keep this negative mojo thing going, it might be our only chance! )

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I realize one blown save is not big but your paying a huge salary
    Plus he can’t keep a tie score when it’s a non save. Guy has not been
    Great the past few seasons ask Boston.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    As a sidebar to today’s Hamels start, personally, I kind of assumed most of the year (even including recent 3 start struggle period) that Cole would make the All-Star team. It’s not quite as lock like as I thought.

    To keep it simple, rather than congest space with the numbers, Dickey, Cueto and Cain are all having better seasons to date. Kershaw is low on wins, but solid on peripherals, and I’d assume, has an edge as the defending Heavyweight Champ. A tad low on innings, but high on quality are Strasburg, Gio, Lance Lynn and Wade Miley. Miley might have one edge, lack of other Diamondback candidates. Having good years, and capable of an edge with solid first half wraps are James McDonald, Chris Capuano, Greinke and Baumgarner.

    Last year, the NL all-star roster included 14 pitchers, 9 of whom were starters. The above names, including Hamels make for a field of 13. They don’t include Santana, or AJ Burnett, who trail Hamels, but with strong pushes would embellish the nice comebacks that have come out of both of them that would make for nice rewards for their good years.

    I’d like to think Cole probably makes it, but he’s still got work to do. Further distancing himself from his recent slide that included giving up two 3-0 leads by pitching as well as he did Monday against the Rox would be well timed starting against Tampa Bay.

  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    I love that Papelbon was so upset he blew the save that he set up a $5,000 bounty for a walk off. It shows that it matters to him when he fails and will probably try hard to make sure it does not happen often.

    Thome getting the walk off is one of the great moments of the season. Hopefully this helps him turn things around as a pitch hitter.

    Phillies need to at least get a split in the doubleheader today. Getting sweeps is great but I would be happy if they can start consistently winning series.

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