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News » Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29

Philadelphia Phillies Notes, Quotes 2008-05-29
--2B Chase Utley is the early favorite to be the starting NL second baseman at the All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium, and not just because he blasted his majors-leading 17th home run Wednesday night. Utley also was leading NL players in All-Star fan balloting with 537,788 votes through Wednesday. He was more than 100,000 votes ahead of Astros 1B Lance Berkman, who was the next most-popular player with 329,723 votes. Utley, who started for the NL in last season's All-Star Game and also played in the 2006 game, is batting .310 and leads the Phillies with 46 RBIs. He's on pace to hit 50 home runs, 18 more than his career high in 2006. It also would shatter the record for homers by a second baseman. Rogers Hornsby hit 42 homers in 1922, and Davey Johnson tied that mark in 1973. "I know my mom has been stuffing a lot of ballots," Utley said with a smile. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel added, "He does everything for us."

--LF Pat Burrell returned to his familiar No. 5 spot in the Phillies lineup Wednesday night after sitting out the previous game with neck stiffness. Burrell said he wasn't sure what caused the discomfort, although he pointed the finger at his 115-pound English bulldog, Elvis. "I blame the dog," Burrell said jokingly. "He had the pillow." Burrell went 1-for-3 with a double in the Phillies' victory over the Rockies, leaving his average at .277. He has been slumping this month, batting only .194 with four homers and five RBIs in 21 games since May 4.

--RHP Kyle Kendrick pitched perhaps his finest game of the season Tuesday night, allowing two runs in a career-high 7 1/3 innings in a victory over the Rockies. Kendrick is 4-2 in 11 starts this season, but the Phillies have gone 7-1 in his last eight starts. The reason for his success is simple, according to SS Jimmy Rollins. "I think he's starting to rediscover his confidence," Rollins said. "If you throw strikes, sometimes they get hit, and sometimes, they hit them right at people. That's one thing I stay on him about. If you look out there, I'm on him all the time: 'Quit nibbling. Quit begging for guys to swing at pitches.' If you pound the zone, then start pitching off the zone, you'll get guys to swing at it. But if you throw them in the dirt from the get-go, they're just going to wait for you to bring it up."

--CF Shane Victorino extended his hitting streak to 10 games by going 3-for-4 Wednesday night in a victory over the Rockies. He also stole two bases and scored two runs. In 28 games since coming off the disabled list, Victorino is batting .315 (35-for-111) with 25 runs and 11 stolen bases. During his hitting streak, Victorino is batting .442 (19-for-43) with 13 runs and six steals.

BY THE NUMBERS: 21 -- One-run games for the Phillies through their first 52 games this season. That ranked second among NL teams behind only the Giants (22). The Phillies were 10-11 in those games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the fact I'm not as concerned with the fans probably helped me a little. There was a time when I was concerned what the Houston fans thought -- but not anymore." -- Phillies closer Brad Lidge, on the mixed reaction he received from Astros fans upon his return to Houston last week.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 29, 2008

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