Chase Utley will not be in the Phillies' lineup today. Why? Interesting theory put forth today by the guys at the Tailgating a Funeral podcast.
Utley not playing tonight with off days yesterday and Thursday is a complete joke. He has to be hurt. Charlie isn't that stupid.— Tailgating a Funeral (@TAF_Podcast) May 14, 2013
The Phillies are facing one of baseball's top offensive teams in the Cleveland Indians. Every little bit of offense will help the Phillies, especially since they have so much trouble mustering just a few runs on a daily basis.
The Phillies are facing a left-handed pitcher in Scott Kazmir. Wait, THAT Scott Kazmir? Yes, the former Phillies World Series foe has found his way into Major League Baseball. But with his 4.87 ERA he is clearly not that strong a threat that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel would be afraid to play his second baseman, perhaps the most stable offensive force on the club this season.
It is possible that Utley is bothered by something else... Did he arrive late? Did he skip an important team function. That's not likely. Did he catch a flu and have an upset stomach? There are no real indications as of now that that is the case.
As they point out in the tweet, the Phillies were off yesterday and are off again on Thursday. The only thing that I can possibly come up with is that Manuel is afraid to play his veteran on a day game (1:05 Wednesday) after a night game, and of the two options, the lefty Kazmir should be avoided. But, Utley is not a catcher and the other rest should be sufficient.
With the red hot Indians offense and rookie hurler Jonathan Pettibone on the mound, Utley's absence will pose a challenge. A questionable move, at least.