A ‘Brave’ Sweep But Still A Phillies Headache

8 Sep

They came, we conquered.  We needed one, I hoped for two, but three is almost an embarrassment of riches.  But unfortunately that’s not the real story from last night’s 3-2 win over the Braves.

It’s not even Ross Gload‘s league-leading 17th pinch hit, a walk-off ninth inning single that drove in the winning run.

Or Raul Ibanez continuing his hot streak slamming a home run in the second inning, the 250th of his career.

No, it wasn’t even Roy Oswalt looking like the Oswalt of old carrying a no-hitter into the sixth and throwing a fastball that averaged 92.2 mph.

Unfortunately, the story as we wake up on this rainy Thursday morning is of another 90-plus-per-hour fastball, the one that hit Chase Utley square in the back of the helmet, so hard it left a mark.  Utley didn’t seem to duck or even flinch leading some to think, that it was the old Utley ‘taking one for the team,’ anything to get on base.  But according to manager Charlie Manuel after the game, Utley just didn’t see the ball coming straight toward his head.

Although he initially stayed in the game, Utley started to develop a head-ache while in the field in the seventh and was taken out for a pinch hitter in the eighth.  Team doctors decided late last night that the Phillies all-star second baseman would not fly with the team to Milwaukee where his Phillies will begin a four-game series against the Central Division-leading Brewers.  Instead he will consult with doctors about a possible concussion.

Utley will have to wait several days before taking what is called the ImPACT concussion test.  Those results will then be compared with a baseline test given to all players during Spring Training.  That will determine when Utley can return to playing baseball. According to GM Ruben Amaro, the Phillies don’t want to take any chances:

“We think it’s very, very mild, but we’re going to be cautious with him, obviously.  You don’t want to mess with the head.”

No, you don’t.  We’ve all heard those stories in sports of athletes who suffer from concussions and never quite seem to make it back all the way.  They most often happen in the high contact sports of football or hockey where fear of a repeat hit remains high.  Not so much in baseball where the odds of a 90 mph fastball hitting you in the head are not high at all.

But unfortunately it does happen.  Just ask Chase Utley who has a grey mark on his batting helmet and a headache to prove it.


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