Phillies can bounce back against Reds this weekend

With two hits, Chase Utley improved his batting average to .360 Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Credit: Getty Images
Chase Utley leads the National League in several offensive categories. Credit: Getty Images

For the most part,the Phillies offense was held in check in two interleague games against the Los Angeles Angels this week.

Maybe Thursday’s day off will help jump-start the offense, which fell 4-3 on Tuesday and was shutout 3-0 on Wednesday.

The Phillies were also set back by some defensive lapses, most notably multiple errors by third baseman Cody Asche that wound up costing Cliff Lee a win in what was an otherwise solid start.

The Phillies could be getting the perfect opponent to help end the mini-slump this weekend as the equally offensively challenged Cincinnati Reds come to town.

The Reds are ranked 28th in the major leagues in runs scored and 23rd in batting average.

If the Phillies’ makeshift bullpen can get into gear to help the solid starting efforts of Lee, Kendrick and Hamels, the Phillies could find themselves closer to the .500 mark by the end of this three-game set.

Utley remains red-hot

The Phillies haven’t had a spectacular season through their first 38 games.

But Chase Utley has.

The 35-year-old second baseman still has a team-best batting average of .343.

He has three triples, three homers, 20 RBI and boasts an impressive .571 slugging percentage.

“You know what? He’s driving the ball and having quality at-bats,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He just continues to swing a hot bat for us.”

His three triples, along with 17 doubles lead the entire National League.

Utley also has seven go-ahead hits, showing that his timely hitting in the middle of the order is more than just for the stat books, it helps the Phillies win games.

It seems his hot-hitting has rubbed off a bit on his mid-order teammates.

Marlon Byrd is hitting at a .295 clip in the No. 5 spot, and Ryan Howard looks more comfortable at the plate as he collects more and more opposite field hits. His average is up to .251.

Ruf nears return

The Phillies have been missing a certain amount of pop in their lineup, and perhaps Darin Ruf will be able to provide it soon.

The Phillies took him off the disabled list, where he has been since spring training, and assigned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley Thursday.

The only reason he wasn’t called up to the big leagues is due to his shortened stint in Clearwater. The slugging first baseman and outfielder needs some more at-bats before he will be deemed Big League ready.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures, September 19,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on September 19, 20 and 21. There will be many streets and…

Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Television

'Outlander' Season 1, Episode 7: 'The Wedding'

Claire and Jamie are man and wife!!! Like, ALL THE WAY, if you know what we mean. (Twice.)

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…