Chase Utley Faked Hit-by-Pitch and Scored Illegitimate Run
In the same inning that the Phillies busted open Game 2 of the NLDS thanks to a critical error by Jay Bruce, they were also the recipients of a few other nice breaks. Second baseman Chase Utley led off the 7th against flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. Chapman went up and in on Utley on an errant pitch and Utley was awarded first after acting like he was hit. The trajectory of the ball did not change after crossing the plate, nor did it appear as if Utley was even grazed by the ball. Still, he pulled a Jeter and acted like he got hit and was awarded first. Let me just say that if Utley were indeed hit by a 100-mph pitch, he would not have recovered as quickly as he did. In case you haven’t seen the play, judge for yourself courtesy of this gif from SB Nation:
Asked after the game if the pitch hit him, Utley responded “I’m not sure.” I think that settles the matter.
But that’s not the end of the bad calls from the inning!
Running to second on a fielder’s choice by Jayson Werth, some fans argue Utley was out on the force at second. He was called safe at second, but then there was another Utley controversy. Surprised that Jay Bruce missed the ball in right, Utley was somewhat out of sorts as he made his way home to score. He appeared to miss third base as he was making his turn towards home. Luckily for the Phils the Reds must have missed the play and did not appeal.
Asked about that play after the game, Utley said “it worked out for the best.” Like I said, the man faked being hit by a pitch and scored a pretty illegitimate run. Then again if I were facing a dude throwing 102 mph heat, I probably would be out of sorts as well.
Check out the whole sequence at MLB.com. Those breaks were huge for the Phillies who went on for a 7-4 win. Things could have been much, much different if Utley had never been credited first on the phony hit-by-pitch.