Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes did a question and answer session with Baseball Prospectus, and in it he suggested that Chase Utley has a little bit of a knee injury. The interview was conducted over the weekend at Fenway Park.
If true, this could explain his recent struggles and go a long way in proving why Chase is continually given the benefit of the doubt when he's struggling. The Phillies, Utley, and team writers have denied that he is hurt, but obviously there is something.
Thanks to Crashburn Alley for the find.
Lopes: The numbers. Mainly the stolen-base attempts are
just not there like they have been in the last three years that I’ve
been a part of the organization. One reason is that Jimmy
Rollins is hurt and he’s our main guy as far as attempting
to steal bases. Vic [Shane
Victorino] is starting to pick it up. And Jayson [Werth]—and
I use the term loosely—is not very aggressive at all, for whatever
reason, this year. Chase [Utley] has been hampered by a little bit of a
knee injury. That’s more than likely why our numbers are down, but it’s
still confusing to me as to why they haven’t been as aggressive in attempting
Lopes: Well, I wouldn’t say that it’s not reversible, but the only way that it’s going to get any better is to, a) Get Jimmy Rollins back and he’s healthy; b) The other guys that aren’t attempting to run need to start putting pressure on the defense by running. Now, I can’t force them to run. All that I can do is point out certain things, and then it’s up to them. But Victorino is starting to come along, and right now he is really the only one running, or attempting to steal, because Jimmy is hurt. Chase has had some problems with his knee, and Jayson has had a horrendous slump for the last month or so. So I think that once they just get back to hitting, and back to winning—these things help us win. When you get on base and the opposition presents you with an opportunity to steal a base—if we don’t capitalize, we’re only defeating what we’re built around.