World Se­ries-win­ning Phillies re­unite

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Stephen Whyno

WASH­ING­TON >> Chase Ut­ley sat in the Los An­ge­les Dodgers club­house and watched as Cole Hamels was chased from a game 1,000 miles away. Eight years ago might as well be an eter­nity.

Back then Ut­ley made the sig­na­ture play on the base paths in the de­ci­sive Game 5 and Hamels was lights out as they won the World Se­ries to­gether with the Phillies. Not far from Ut­ley on Thurs­day were two other mem­bers of that team: catcher Car­los Ruiz and pitcher Joe Blan­ton.

Ut­ley, Ruiz and Blan­ton have been re­united with the Dodgers and face fel­low 2008 World Se­ries win­ner Jayson Werth of the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als in the NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries. Trades and sign­ings have brought all four play­ers to this point, know­ing it could be their last chance to win an­other cham­pi­onship.

“We’re all in dif­fer­ent roles, dif­fer­ent stages of our ca­reers,” said Blan­ton, the Phillies’ Game 4 starter and home run slug­ger in 2008 who is now a setup man. “The mind­set’s still the same. ... Win­ning is just a mat­ter of a bunch of things: breaks go­ing your way, get­ting hot at the right time, just the way game plays out, matchups.”

From the 2008 cham­pi­ons, only Pat Bur­rell and Shane Vic­torino went on to get an­other ring.

Ut­ley, Ruiz and Werth are all 37 years old and don’t know how many more post­sea­son at-bats they have left. Ut­ley is on a one-year deal, Ruiz is at the end of his con­tract and Werth has one sea­son left be­fore he could again hit un­re­stricted free agency.

The rare air of Oc­to­ber isn’t lost on any of them.

“I feel like I’m real hun­gry,” Ruiz said. “I feel like I want to win and I want to win and do my best to help the team. Def­i­nitely at the end of my ca­reer to have an­other shot to go to the World Se­ries, it’s huge. We’ll take it one game at a time the same way we did in ‘08.”

Werth, who left the Phillies af­ter their World Se­ries de­feat in 2009 to sign a $126 mil­lion deal with the Na­tion­als, ap­pre­ci­ates ev­ery chance he has left.

“As you get older, you get less and less op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Werth said. “I’m not go­ing to have too many of these chances left. You don’t want to take them for granted, but at the same time you’ve just got to play base­ball.”


Wash­ing­ton left fielder Jayson Werth misses a two-run home run by the Dodgers’ Justin Turner dur­ing the third in­ning of Game 1.

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