Chase Utley once again dons the role of villain against the Mets
For the better part of a month, ever since an NLDS between the Mets and Dodgers seemed inevitable, I envisioned that Chase Utley would have some sort of impact on this series.
As he stepped up to the plate in the 7th inning of Game Two, I once again mentioned this to my Just Mets writing partner Michael Baron.
Maybe it was the history between he and the Mets, maybe it was just a gut feeling, but whatever it was, I just had that sense. That being said, I never expected what wound up happening on Saturday night.
Let’s face it, Chase Utley has ripped out the hearts of Mets fans before. He’s homered so often in the one easier spot in Citi Field to get one out that it’s often referred to as “Utley’s Corner.”
He’s come up with big hit after big hit after big hit against this franchise ever since he debuted in 2003, and especially during the late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008.
Even this season as he hit .212 over the course of the year, Utley batted .310/.412/.552 with a .963 OPS against the Mets.
Saturday night wasn’t even the first time Utley made a questionable slide against the Mets or Ruben Tejada as he did something very similar–albeit with a different result and much lower stakes–against them during the 2010 season.
Due to his late slide on Saturday night, Utley cost the Mets both a pivotal Game Two victory that would’ve given them a 2-0 edge in the series, but he also took away their starting shortstop for the remainder of the season.
Now, even as Major League Baseball have suspended him–essentially ruling that his slide should have been ruled interference and enforced as an inning-ending double play–Utley once again has his chance to help spoil things for the Mets.
Not long after the suspension was handed down by MLB, Utley and his agent announced that they would be appealing the suspension, meaning that until a hearing is had, he will be able to play in this series.
“The players association and my agent are handling the appeals process,” Utley said in a statement. “I have nothing more to say other than to reiterate that I feel terrible about Ruben’s injury. Now my teammates and I are focused on Game 3 and doing everything we can to win this series.”
According to various reports, Utley will likely start against Matt Harvey tonight, as he is 6-for-18 with two home runs against the Mets starter in his career.
Once again, Utley–the former Phillies star turned Dodgers afterthought–has put himself in the forefront of everything in this series against the Mets. Once again he as donned the role of villain against this franchise.
In the first postseason game in New York for the Metropolitans in nine years, The Dark Knight of Gotham will face off against one of this team’s oldest and greatest nemeses.
Will justice prevail?
That story has yet to be told.