The same can be said for his performance in the All-Star Game balloting.
Never mind that Utley is crushing the competition at second base, but he also entered his third week as the leading National League vote-getter, with 1,284,961 votes — far ahead of the second place second baseman, Mark DeRosa of the Cubs.
Last week, Utley completed a run of homering in five straight games — May 28-June 2 — for the second time this season. He started the 2007 All-Star Game, going 0-for-2 in San Francisco at AT&T Park, and he played in the 2006 contest, going 1-for-2 in Pittsburgh at PNC Park.
The Phillies superstar with the special left-handed stroke is lined up for his third appearance and second start.
“Every time he hits a home run, half the dugout looks at each other and goes, ‘Wow, how does he do it so easily?'” Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said. “There are athletes in every game that you can say are great, and some are just good. Chase is a great player, probably the best in the game.”
This would be Utley’s first career appearance at Yankee Stadium, the final season of the historic ballpark.
Teammate Jimmy Rollins, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, has held steady at fifth place among shortstops, with his first-half production slowed because of a sprained left ankle.
The 79th annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 15 will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM Radio will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
The Midsummer Classic will be the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth one in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, ’60 and ’77; the Polo Grounds held the game in ’34 and ’42; Ebbets Field was the site in ’49; and Shea Stadium hosted the ’64 tilt.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Wednesday, July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2008 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 6. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote at MLB.com.
But the voting doesn’t end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP vote at MLB.com.
There are other Phillies who could join Utley. Ryan Howard, who has gotten hot after batting .163 in his first 35 games, ranks fourth among NL first basemen on the ballot, up from fifth a week ago. Pat Burrell dropped to ninth among outfielders.
I think it’s safe to say that Utley is a lock as the National League starter at Second Base for this year’s All-Star Game at Yankees Stadium. Too bad it doesn’t look like any of the other Phillies will be at the game as starters.