Chase Utley, in his entire career, had only been a leadoff hitter 11 times. None of those instances came on opening day. That is, of course, until yesterday. In his 12th career outing in the leadoff hole, Utley had a fantastic day that helped propel the Los Angeles Dodgers to a resounding win.
Utley went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and a run scored. He was also solid in the field. While he did get thrown out trying to score on a double down the left field line, his hustle and determination was seen as a positive thing. Utley was great, and the Dodgers shined with him batting leadoff.
“For me, the only difference is you’re the first batter of the game,” [Chase Utley] said. “You’re still trying to put good at-bats together no matter where you’re hitting in the lineup.” Utley, 37, is the oldest member of the Dodgers. Monday marked the 1,586th game of his career. It was only the 12th time he had batted in the No. 1 spot.
Chase Utley is going to go in the Hall of Fame one day. It’s almost a guarantee at this point. He’s one of the greatest to ever man second base. But it is quite astounding that yesterday was only the 12th time in his career that he batted in the leadoff spot. Still, you have to love his production.
While it’s extremely unlikely that Utley hits like that all season long, he’s going to get his chance to bat leadoff against right-handers. And, according to manager Dave Roberts, Corey Seager will be batting right behind him. That bodes well for the team, and it should give them a major boost. The 37-year old, at least on opening day, showed some spring in his step.