Charlie Manuel loved it.

The Nationals had no problem with it.

Chase Utley saw an opportunity to steal home in the third inning last night in a 4-0 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park, so he made his best Usain Bolt impression and broke for home. But a second later he turned into Brian Dawkins as he tried to jar the ball loose from Nationals catcher Jesus Flores.

Flores held onto the ball for the out, but he didn't walk off the field.

He has a sprained left ankle.

"Why shouldn't I? That's the way you play," said Manuel, asked if he was OK with the play. "I wish every one of my players would play that way. That would be good. Don't say 'old school.' That's good school. That's the way you play the game. Unless you want to put some rouge and makeup and lipstick on you."

I'm pretty sure Utley has never put on rouge or lipstick.

But that is the type of play that makes Utley so respected in baseball. He has a reputation for playing hard. The Nationals admitted as much last night, which could be why they had no problem with Utley going high to trying to knock the ball from Flores' glove. Because he has a reputation for playing hard, they know there was nothing cheap intended with the play.

They just know it's Utley.


Cole Hamels threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings and 104 pitches last night, which is great. But can he pitch Sunday night against Johan Santana and the Mets?

If the decision were up to him what would he say?

"I'm not going to give you guys an answer for that," he said.

"I want to put Hamels on the Mets," Manuel said.

This is a very interesting situation. The Phillies value Hamels' health. So does Hamels. Hamels has been on the DL each of the previous four seasons. He has thrown more than 200 innings for the first time in his career. He has about five more starts to make. If the Phillies bring back Hamels on Sunday, he would be pitching on normal rest (four days) for three consecutive start for just the second time this season. Rich Dubee said Hamels could go the remainder of the season pitching on normal rest, although there are a couple days off the rest of the way.

Some intersting numbers:

Hamels made a season-high three consecutive starts on four days rest from July 3 to 13. He went 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA. But in the three starts after that stretch, he went 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA. He has started on normal rest 16 times this season and has a 2.47 ERA in those starts. He has started on five or more days rest 12 times and has a 3.95 ERA in those starts.


In the Phillies Notebook: Kyle Kendrick has had a "bad look" about him lately, and Kendrick doesn't disagree.

"I don't know if it's a confidence thing, but I'm not trusting myself right now," he said. "I'm really kind of hesitant, I guess. I'm trying to make the perfect pitch instead of just letting loose. I'm trying to place the ball instead of throwing it."

In his last five starts, Kendrick is 1-3 with a 9.14 ERA (22 earned runs in 211/3 innings). He has walked 14 and struck out just seven, and opponents have hit .356 against him.