Washington Nationals: 2016 NLDS Tale Of The Tape
Second Base: Chase Utley vs. Daniel Murphy
Second base is the battle of two players who had their own moments in the postseason a season ago. Utley is well known for his slide on Ruben Tejada in last year’s NLDS while Murphy was hitting home runs and helping the Mets reach the World Series.
Utley may be getting up there in age (37 years old), but he finished the 2016 campaign with 14 home runs (nine of them coming in the second half). Also, Utley hit .281 away from Dodger Stadium this season (.216 on the road). Against the Nats this season, he was 7-for-20 with one home run and four RBI’s.
From his time with the Phillies, Utley has the postseason experience and has put up some big numbers in October. Back in 2009, Utley hit six home runs in a year where Philadelphia reached the World Series. Defensively, Utley’s -3 runs saved were the lowest in his career since 2013 (Fangraphs).
Murphy goes into the postseason with some questions since he still has that buttocks strain and he hasn’t started in a game since September 17. Still, that shouldn’t take away from the MVP-like season he had in his first year in Washington D.C.
This season, Murphy had a slash line of .347/.390/.595 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI’s. He carried over the swing changes he made with the Mets last season that led him to a historic postseason run. While his defense is sub-par, Murphy is going to be one of those players the Nats depend on heavily on offense if healthy.
Advantage: This matchup leans heavily in favor of the Washington Nationals. If Murphy is somewhat healthy, he is going to have more of an impact on how this series is decided than Utley will.