Chase Utley is in Philadelphia, and every Phillies fan could not be more relieved. After watching the Phillies win 3-2, 2-0, and lose 2-0 last weekend, I could not be happier too.
But, the million dollar question is how well will he actually play. Can he be the old Chase Utley? Or will he be the Chase Utley of last year, coming off another injury? Recovering from a serious knee injury, it is unknown how effective he will be in his return.
On top of the concern of his effectiveness, he will not be able to appear everyday. Charlie Manuel has already stated he may play Utley for two days, followed by a day off.
Today, with Utley batting second, extra pressure will come off of Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco to produce heavily.
Chase protects the plate well, and with him in the lineup both of these hitters should see better pitches. Also, Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco, and Raul Ibanez can finally worry about hitting the ball solidly, instead of hitting home runs to replace Werth and Utley.
Of course, this all depends on how well Utley can produce, to take pressure off other Phillies hitters. The Phillies have been in a drought lately having a record of 4-6 in their last 10 games, along with only surpassing seven hits ONCE in that time period.
With the pathetic hitting of the Phillies and stellar pitching, Chase Utley's return could be the final ingredient that contributes to success.
Regardless, with the lineup slumping the five time all-star will provide a huge emotional and physical boost to the Phillies.