Chase Utley has been given a “mental break”

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Ryne Sandberg gave the struggling Chase Utley the night off on Tuesday. It may last more than a night. When asked about thwy Utley was benched and whether it was to give him a “mental break,” Sandberg agreed with the notion:

“There’s something to that,” Sandberg said. “Sometimes you can take a break and get away from mental grind and the mental work he puts into his daily routine . . . I told him to take a little break . . . Just take a break and start fresh,” Sandberg said. “Hopefully his luck will change.”

It will likely continue for today’s game against the Braves. The Phillies are off tomorrow and Utley will be back on Friday, one assumes.

Utley is 9-for-87 on the year, which translates to a .103 average. That’s the lowest among 183 qualifying hitters in the majors.

Ronald Acuña Jr. reaches a rare home run milestone

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.

Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.