Chase Utley and Pat Burrell have opened the 2008 season hotter than probably any duo has in the last decade.
The two have combined for 18 home runs, 46 RBI, 15 doubles, two steals, 35 runs, a .371 BA in just 23 games. They've out homered 12 teams in the Major Leagues. Kansas City has scored 64 runs all season. Utley and Burrell are responsible for almost that many.
Against the Milwaukee Brewers today, Burrell doubled home Utley and Greg Dobbs for the go ahead runs in eighth inning to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead. A Jason Werth sixth inning homer run accounted for the Phillies first run.
Burrell and Utley were responsible for basically the rest of the Phillies offense. They reached base six times on four hits and two walks. Utley raised his batting average to .385 with his 3-for-4 day.
One of the biggest things responsible for their hot start is their ability to put the ball in play. They've combined for just 29 strike outs in over 160 at bats. That's less than one K per five at bats.
That's a lot different than in the past. Burrell had been striking out almost 25 percent of the time and Utley just over 20 percent.
The three runs Werth, Burrell and Utley produced were more than enough for soon to be AARP member, Jamie Moyer. He threw six stud innings working in and out of jams all game.
He allowed 11 base runners, but only one made it home. Moyer's last solid start against the Mets went without reward as the Phillies couldn't give him the run support as he only surrendered just two runs in six innings against them.
The 45 year old handed the ball over to 41-year-old Flash Gordon, who handed the ball over to 32-year-old J.C. Romero, who handed the ball over to 28-year-old Ryan Madson, who handed the ball over to....not someone younger. 32-year-old Brad Lidge threw a solid ninth inning for the save.
Lidge's fifth save extended his scoreless streak to open the year to ten innings.
- Ryan Howard didn't start, but came into the game as a pinch hitter. He stayed in the game and replaced Greg Dobbs at first base. The former MVP is three for his last 28 after going 0-for-2 this afternoon with two strikeouts. He started off slow last year partly because of his injury. Hopefully this is just a funk and there's not something wrong with his knee again.
- I mentioned above Jason Werth hit his fourth home run of the year. He's 14-for-44 with four home runs since moving into the everyday lineup after Shane Victorino went down.
- The National League's best bullpen gave up just two base runners in three scoreless innings tonight.