MLB Network analyst and former Phillies closer Mitch Williams said yesterday that he believes a foot injury is behind Chase Utley’s postseason throwing problems:
I think he’s hurt. Watch the way he’s trying to throw the baseball. He can’t put his right foot in the ground. I’m not going to sit back and listen to people say he’s got the yips. That ain’t the case. To get the yips, you’ve got to be really weak-minded. Chase is a lot of things. Weak-minded ain’t one of them.
When I saw the first one, you run it back, and he steps on the bag with his right foot, and the first thing you’re going to do there is drop, plant and throw. He doesn’t. He basically sets himself up to get killed at second base.
I don’t know if it’s the hip. It’s something on his right side. I could be really wrong, but when the season’s over, there’s going to be something come out that Chase has been playing with this.
Utley has said throughout the postseason that he feels fine, but Scott Lauber of the Delaware News Journal notes that he said the same thing last year before undergoing offseason hip surgery and missed some time this September after fouling a ball off his right foot.
Whether his throwing problems are physical or mental there’s definitely something amiss, because he’s made several throwing errors while looking shaky on numerous other throws this postseason after committing a grand total of just four throwing errors in 1,357 innings during the regular season.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.