ATLANTA -- Chase Utley will never make the All-Interview Team. It's about the only team that wouldn't welcome him.Then, again, Utley has always believed that actions speak louder than words. It's how the 37-year-old second baseman has starred for 13-plus Major League seasons.His actions spoke volumes Wednesday night, as the
ATLANTA -- Chase Utley will never make the All-Interview Team. It's about the only team that wouldn't welcome him.
Then, again, Utley has always believed that actions speak louder than words. It's how the 37-year-old second baseman has starred for 13-plus Major League seasons.
His actions spoke volumes Wednesday night, as the Dodgers rallied from three runs down to earn a 5-3, 10-inning win over the Braves at Turner Field.
"He's a baseball player, and he played a complete baseball game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Utley completely threw Braves reliever Jason Grilli off his game in the 10th inning, using every bit of his baseball guile and a tip from first-base coach George Lombard. After singling to right field on a 3-2 pitch from Grilli to lead off the inning, he wasted little time cashing in on advice from Lombard and taking off for second.
"George made us all aware that [Grilli] can be slow at times," Utley said. "That first pitch, he was pretty slow to the plate, and we took advantage of it."
Utley not only swiped the base, but he changed the tone of the inning. The former Braves closer walked the ensuing hitter, Corey Seager, on four pitches, and then he give up an RBI double to Justin Turner.
"It was huge," said Roberts, a prolific basestealer during his career. "Now Grilli's got to pitch Corey Seager really carefully, and then J.T. gets the double, and we just kept the line moving. So that stolen base changed the inning completely."
Utley also was heads-up by scoring on Turner's bloop to left-center that eluded diving center fielder Mallex Smith, who got a late jump on the ball. Again, chalk it up to experience.
"Nobody out, you have to tag in that situation," Utley said. "And that was a tough one. That was a 'tweener. Worst-case scenario, it falls in and you maybe get to third. If he catches it you have to be on third base. So that was my mindset."
Utley gave his pitchers peace of mind on defense, chalking up six assists, three of them on leadoff hitters in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, as the Dodgers were fighting back from a 3-0 hole after the fourth.
"He was all over the infield, and this is a tough infield to play," said Roberts.
Utley, who preferred to give credit to the Dodgers' bullpen, knows Turner Field well from his years with the Phillies, but he said that wasn't really a big factor.
"I don't know if it plays to your advantage. The field's changed a little bit over the years," Utley said. "There are some tricky hops out there, but overall, I thought we played good defense. Our bullpen was huge tonight for us."
Huge also describes the daily impact Utley has made on Seager, the rookie who plays next to him at shortstop every day.
"Man, it's awesome. Just every pitch, how he thinks, you can learn so much from him," said Seager, who turns 22 in a week. "It's pretty impressive to watch him play, and it's really impressive to play with him."
"His mindset is always just to help us win baseball games," said Roberts. "He's great on the team."
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com.