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October 8, 2009

Chase Utley


Q. Obviously there's a lot of baseball ahead of you, but now that you look back on your regular season, that's kind of a closed book. How do you evaluate that and how do you feel the regular season went for you?
CHASE UTLEY: As a team I thought we did a pretty good job.

Q. As an individual?
CHASE UTLEY: As an individual, you know, all my seasons, I'm never really satisfied on the way I play. I always feel like I can play better, so this season is no different.

Q. I'll give you a softball here that's not really baseball related so much, but I know there's a relationship between you and Garrett Atkins that goes back to college. Does it go back before that? And tell me about that as far as your friendship with him.
CHASE UTLEY: We met in college at UCLA. We came in as freshmen together, and we played three years together there. We became good friends. We were roommates after college. We worked out together in the off-season. He was my best man at my wedding. So we've stayed pretty close.

Q. As a follow-up, is it odd to be in fierce competition against someone who is such a big part of your life?
CHASE UTLEY: I don't think it's odd. I think it's pretty special, actually. You know, we've had pretty decent careers individually and on pretty good teams, so I think we're pretty lucky.

Q. You're pretty well known for the preparation you put in in terms of video and that kind of stuff. Can you tell me how beneficial the days off you had, at least before the series started, and how much work you put in during that time, and how you think that is going to help you going forward?
CHASE UTLEY: You know, the days off the last few days of the season were nice, just could relax a little bit, watch some baseball instead of participate.
As far as doing my homework, it stays the same every single day, just trying to put a game plan together on defense. Offensively just trying to find the best way to win.

Q. Aaron Cook lives off of his sinker. What is the key to getting to him and being effective against him?
CHASE UTLEY: Aaron is tough. We've had a chance to face him a few times. The key is my sinker ball guy is try to get him to get his pitches up in the zone. It doesn't always work out that way, but the best way to be successful against a sinker guy is to have him bring the ball up in the zone to where you can get a good swing at it. If you start swinging at balls that are below the zone, you're going to run into some trouble.
Our goal today is to try to make him elevate the ball, put some good at-bats against him and see what happens.

Q. How different do you feel physically from a year ago?
CHASE UTLEY: Less pain than last year. Actually I feel pretty good. This year was a little different for me. I obviously had the surgery last year, coming back in four months, which was the quickest time that they gave me to come back, so overall I'm pretty proud of my body and myself and the way that I've handled this year.

Q. Could you please talk a little bit about the little things that Davey Lopes things in terms of helping the base runners steal bases?
CHASE UTLEY: Davey sees things that no one else really sees. Every day he's watching the starting pitcher to try to find out any keys for us to steal bases, and he also gives us that confidence over there. If Davey says hey -- if he tells us to go, why not? We go, and a lot of times we're safe.
Obviously he's a smart baseball man, he knows what he's doing, but he also creates that confidence that helps us succeed.

Q. You guys have had two pretty big acquisitions this season in Cliff Lee and Raul Ibanez. Can you describe what each one has brought to you guys?
CHASE UTLEY: They've meant a lot. We've had Raul the entire year. Playing in the American League I never had a chance to watch him a whole lot. I saw highlights it seemed like every day when he was successful over in Seattle. But he's great. He plays a great left field. His arm is accurate. He catches everything he gets to, strong left-handed hitter, has power to all fields, very hard worker, which I think rubs off on some guys, and a great clubhouse guy. You really couldn't ask for much more.

Q. And then also Cliff?
CHASE UTLEY: Cliff, we haven't had Cliff as long, but he's been outstanding. We faced him, I think, one time a couple years ago in interleague, and he's tough. He's left-handed, he throws hard, he throws strikes. He knows what he's doing on the mound, and he's got great composure. Nothing really rattles him. I think he was a huge pickup for us.

Q. From two years ago to now when you got your first taste of postseason, not you personally but this team as it's currently put together, what has changed internally because of success?
CHASE UTLEY: Well, I think confidence. If you have confidence, you're going to succeed. We played well in 2006 at the end of the year, didn't quite make the postseason, but we felt like we had a great opportunity to. And then obviously in '07 and '08, just being able to be there, getting that experience.
You know, the hardest thing to do as a player at this level, it's not necessarily just getting base hits or throwing strikes or fielding ground balls, it's trying to slow the game down, especially in the postseason. Fans are going crazy. You know, everybody is watching you. You put that out of your mind, and I think the teams that slow it down the best are the teams that are successful.

Q. This Rockies team is very streaky. Is that why it's even more important not to let them get started?
CHASE UTLEY: That's something that for me I don't really think about. Our goal every day is to go out there and win, put a game plan together. They do have a very good team, whether it's streaky or not. I'm not really sure about the numbers. But they have a good team, they have good pitchers, they have some guys that can swing the bats, so they can do a lot of damage. Obviously you want to hold them down as much as possible. But as far as not letting them get started, that's not something that we focus on.

End of FastScripts

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