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Minus 2009, Chase Utley hasn't been a good playoff hitter

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's quest for a second World Series title ended Saturday evening when the Chicago Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League pennant.

Utley, who will at least draw Hall of Fame consideration when his career ends, batted just .107 in 28 postseason at-bats this year. For as good as Utley's career has been, he's now batted 195 times in his playoff career and hasn't been particularly effective. 

In 59 career postseason games, Utley is batting .241 with 47 strikeouts. He does have 10 home runs and 27 RBIs, but six of those home runs and 10 of the RBIs came during the 2009 playoffs, with five of those home runs coming in the World Series. If you exclude the 2009 playoffs, Utley would have a career playoff batting average of just .220, with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 141 at-bats.

It is, of course, worth noting that 141 at-bats isn't a large sample size (it is for the playoffs, but not in general), but it's an interesting look at how Utley has fared in a majority of his playoff career. By comparison, Ryan Howard has a .259 batting average with eight home runs and 33 RBIs in 170 postseason at-bats. Howard does have 67 career playoff strikeouts, but he is considered by many to not have been a good postseason hitter and his traditional statistics are better than Utley's full playoff stats, and much better than Utley's stats if you exclude 2009. 

Hitting is far from the only contribution that Utley has made to his teams during the playoffs -- he was a tremendous fielder at his peak and has 11 stolen bases in the playoffs -- but by just about any measure, Utley has been a below-average postseason hitter. 


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