It's now safe to call Utley 'Mr. November'
PHILADELPHIA - Chase Utley admitted after hitting two home runs to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-6 win over the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the World Series that he doesn't like being in the limelight.
If he continues to hit the way he has in this post-season, especially the World Series, he better get used to it.
"It's not my favorite part," he said. "My favorite part is playing the game. But it obviously comes with the territory. You kind of learn how to deal with it as you grow. I'm getting a little bit more used to it.
"But I'd rather just go out and play."
His two home runs gave him five in the series to tie him with Reggie Jackson for the most in one Fall Classic.
Jackson, who hit five in the 1977 World Series, won the label "Mr. October" with his feat. Utley may just have claimed the name "Mr. November" since the series drags on now into the 11th month of the year.
"Obviously it's great company," the modest second baseman said afterwards. "At some point, not right now, maybe I'll look back on it and see what kind of special moment it is. But right now our goal is to win two more games."
Utley said both home runs were hit off of fastballs.
And he did it in fine fashion to keep the team alive making the series 3-2, still in New York's favor, but it goes back to Yankee Stadium for Game 6 on Wednesday night.
"I think as a team we do a good job of preparing the same way every day, so obviously it's the World Series, it was a do or die game," he said. "But I try to prepare the same way no matter when you're playing.
"It's always important to have fun. I think it all starts with Charlie and the way he talks to us every single day. His attitude is a fun loving attitude, and it kind of carries over."
That's why Manuel wasn't too worried when he walked into the clubhouse yesterday and heard music blaring after Sunday night's heartbreaking loss.
Is Utley worried about having to go back to the Bronx and win two in their house?
"I don't think we really need to be pointed in the right direction," he quipped. "We all have the same mindset, and we all play the game the right way in my belief. You know, you go out there and you play hard. You give it everything you can and play that game like it's the last.
"It doesn't really matter who it is. The bottom line is to win the game, however you need to do it, whether it's hitting, pitching, defense. It doesn't really matter who steps up, it's just a matter of when and how."
Utley hit a three-run home run in the first inning to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead and a solo homer in the seventh to make it 7-2. They proved to be big as the Yankees scored three runs in the eighth and another run in the ninth to tighten things up.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Utley is just so hard to pitch to.
"He's got such a short swing. He's so short to the ball," he said. "I saw him plenty enough in 2006 and know that he's a very dangerous hitter, and he puts up great numbers every year. But he's very short to the ball, and you don't see him chasing a lot of bad pitches, either."
So there is no talk about a Game 7 because the entire team is focused on winning Game 6 first.
But Cliff Lee, even though he didn't pitch as good as he did in Game 1 in Yankee Stadium, said he'd be available for that last game if needed.
"I don't know, normally my bullpen is not tomorrow but the next day," he said. "Obviously Game 7 will be the day after that. But I think I'll be fine. You're going to have to talk to Charlie. I don't know what his plans are. I'll be ready to pitch whenever they want me to.
"I don't really get that sore, so I'll be ready to pitch whenever they want me to. If it's going to help the team win, I'm in."