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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Utley out of the lineup again: Manuel states it's precautionary

Well, it turns out Charlie Manuel has been playing Chase Utley sparingly because of a hit-by-pitch he suffered last week. is reporting that Utley wanted to play tonight, but Manuel wants to "play it safe."

Unfortunately, it seems Manuel may have his timing off: tonight, the Phillies face a RHP, Adam Wainwright; tomorrow, they face lefty Johan Santana. If Utley NEEDS a rest (which, by Utley's desire to play, doesn't seem to be the case), then he should be rested tomorrow so he can face a RHP and sit against the lefty. This makes even more sense when you consider Utley's replacement tonight is Miguel Cairo, who is awful for his career against RHP (.306 OBP and a .340 SLG) while puttting up respectable numbers against LHP (.337/.398).

Either way, once Manuel made the decision tonight to bench Utley in favor of a righty, he should feel even more urgency than normal to start Greg Dobbs at third base. Shockingly, Pedro Feliz is starting instead. Tonight's lineup, as a result, looks questionable at best: Feliz, Cairo, Ruiz, and Myers are the 6-7-8-9 hitters.

The Phils are underdogs tonight, that's for sure.

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