Dodger’s veteran infielder and baseball father Chase Utley is due to come off the disabled list on Friday evening in time for the Dodgers series opener against the Mets at Citi Field. This seems like perfect timing because Utley has owned the Mets in recent years, especially in Gotham. Utley has been sidelined with a thumb injury for the last several weeks. He hasn’t seen game action since May 29th.
Few players have terrorized one particular club as Utley has done to the Mets. Maybe Clayton Kershaw‘s domination of the Giants comes to mind, but Utley’s torture of the Mets is on a whole new level. Not only has it been wonderful to watch but super ironic considering the 2015 NLDS takeout slide debacle.
Utley despite getting off to a solid start hasn’t done much since the opening month this season. After batting .283 with an .822 OPS in the month of April, Utley batted just .137 (7 for 51) in the month of May before hitting the disabled list with the thumb injury. Overall he’s slashing just .216/.302.324 with one home run and a 74 OPS +. Utley has just 9 extra-base hits in 126 plate appearances.
The Dodgers know with Utley’s age (39) that they shouldn’t rely or expect much from him at the plate. The Dodgers didn’t sign him solely for what he can do on the field, but what he can do in the clubhouse and the dugout. Specifically the Dodgers brought him back for his leadership abilities and mentoring of the younger players.
However it should be noted that Utley hits very well against the Mets. In 808 plate appearances against New York Utley is slashing .281/.374/.527 with 39 home runs and 116 runs driven in. The veteran has a .909 career OPS and 115 runs scored versus the New York club. At Citi Field Utley is slashing .292/.369/.560 (62 for 216) with 14 home runs and a .930 OPS against.
Utley has been tormenting the Mets for the majority of his career. The last couple of years have been super painful for the Mets. Two years ago during the 2016 season Utley destroyed Noah Syndergaard and the Mets single handedly. In one game he drove in five runs hitting two home runs which included a grand slam. Last year during the Dodger’s lone trip to the big Apple he did it again with this massive upper deck blast. He actually hit two home runs during that series.
I’m excited to see what Utley’s next heroics against the Mets will be. Maybe a clutch pinch-hit in the late innings? Or perhaps an incredible diving catch in the field? Rest assured that Utley will find some way to beat the Mets. He’s been doing that throughout his entire career.