The National League Championship Series of 2018 set records and never failed for an interesting moment. The Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers battled through seven games of intense playoff baseball. Bullpens were used like never before. Big plays and homers stole the show. Manny Machado replaced Chase Utley as the most recent “postseason villain”.
Speaking of Utley…
Utley was one of 3 (4 if you count minor league ties) players that were connected to the Phillies previously from both NLCS rosters. Former Phillies catcher Erik Kratz was arguably the MVP of the NLDS for the Brew Crew. Domingo Santana was part of the deal for Hunter Pence.
On the Dodger side of the ball, two familiar faces appeared from the lovely World Series of 10 years ago. Ryan Madson fell off the planet after leaving the Phillies in 2012. He signed a contract with the Reds and ended up tearing a ligament in his elbow, requiring him to get Tommy John surgery. He tried to come back for 3 years and ended up with the 2015 Kansas City Royals, winning his second World Series ring.
Somehow, Madson is still pumping 97 mph on his fastball, making the Mad Dog a key piece to the Dodger bullpen. With the Dodgers winning the NLCS, Madson now has a chance for a 3rd ring.
And Utley…. oh Utley….
During Utley’s time with the Dodgers, he has been considered a player coach and mentor to some of the players. Dodger’s utility man, Kiki Hernandez, even regards him as a father figure (somewhat jokingly).
When the Dodgers clinched the NL West crown it was Utley who lead the celebration. Since that time, Utley has had to take a back seat as the Dodgers didn’t add him to the NLDS or NLCS rosters. Now as the Dodgers head back to the World Series for the second year in a row, could both Utley and Madson be on the same World Series roster for the first time since 2008?
Is it possible? Yes.
Is it likely? Probably not.
The only change that the Dodgers made between the NLCS and NLDS was switching Scott Alexander for Julio Urias. The Dodger’s are certain to take a hard look at Utley for his former postseason heroism.
Let’s see who he could replace if the Dodgers decided to put him on the roster.
Realistically there are only 2 options: Kiki Hernandez and Brian Dozier. Both play second base, Utley’s natural position. Both hit under .200 in the NLCS. Kiki hit under .200 in the NLDS as well and Dozier only had 2 ABs.
Chase Utley’s career numbers in the World Series include a slash line of .200/.357/.689 and 7 Home Runs. While his batting average doesn’t look great, his OBP keeps up thanks to 9 walks. Again, 7 home run, 5 of which came here.
We all have fond memories of Chase Utley, but those memories won’t put him back on the roster.
Hernandez is an important utility piece for the Dodgers. Dozier was part of a late season trade. It would probably take the Dodgers leaving one of their outfielders off the roster, but that just isn’t going to happen.
The only real possibility would be injury and we here a t Philly Sports Network don’t condone praying for injury just so we can see our childhood hero one last time….even though we want to more than anything.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports