By Matt Snyder
Games like this have to help set the minds at ease of Phillies' brass, the fans and Chase Utley himself. Wilson Valdez just had a monster game. He went 4-4 with two doubles, three runs and three RBI in an 11-0 beatdown of the Mets. Gaudy numbers for anyone, but for a man the Phillies were forced to start -- even having to beat out punchless Luis Castillo in late spring training to win the job -- it has to serve as a cherry on top.
His rate stats (like the .429 batting average and identical on-base percentage) are obviously skewed now, because an absurd game like that is bound to do so with only 22 plate appearances. Still, if the Phillies get any fraction of the production from Valdez as they've seen thus far, it's far more than they could have expected to see from the position offensively with Utley on the shelf.
It's not just Valdez, either. The Phils have now scored 43 runs in six games -- one of which they only managed one -- and sit atop the NL East at 5-1. Team this with the news Utley may soon be running again, and things are looking up early for the NL favorites.
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