Having grown up rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chase Utley can now help them reach the postseason.
The six-time All-Star second baseman makes his Dodgers debut as they try to snap a season-high five-game road skid Friday night against the Houston Astros.
Born in Pasadena, raised in Long Beach and a standout at UCLA, Utley waived a no-trade clause Wednesday to come home and play for the team that selected him in the second round of the 1997 draft. He didn't sign with Los Angeles (67-53) then but after playing all of his 12-plus seasons in Philadelphia, will don the Dodger blue.
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"(The Dodgers were) No. 1 on my list," Utley told MLB's official website. "When you're chasing down trying to get to the playoffs in September, there's nothing like it."
With the Phillies mired in a third straight disappointing season, Utley got the chance to join a Los Angeles club that holds a 2 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West. He'll also be reunited with longtime double-play partner Jimmy Rollins after second baseman Howie Kendrick suffered a hamstring injury earlier this month.
''He does have experience, he's a tough guy," Rollins said. "More than anything that there will be some new excitement in the clubhouse.''
Utley hit .179 in 65 games before missing more than a month with an ankle injury, but he's batted .484 with a homer, five doubles and five RBIs in eight games since returning from the disabled list.
"He can add a lot," Rollins said. "Hopefully, No. 1, first and foremost, that he's healthy. The way he's swung the bat since he's been playing, anyone can use that."
Utley can start by helping Los Angeles avoid its first six-game road slide since May 2013. The Dodgers have totaled eight runs and 16 hits in the last three games overall, and Rollins' two-run homer was one of their two hits in Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Oakland.
Los Angeles could get another spark if Yasiel Puig plays after sitting Wednesday with a slight hamstring strain. He's hit .353 with a homer in his last five games.
With or without Puig, the Dodgers try to get back on track against Mike Fiers (0-0, 3.71 ERA), who allowed five runs, five hits and walked five in five-plus innings of a 14-4 loss to them for Milwaukee on May 7.
Fiers, though, has been very good in his past two starts despite failing to record a decision in either. He's allowed one earned run and 10 hits over 12 innings.
Andre Ethier is batting .370 in his last 15 games, and is 4 for 6 with a double and a triple against the right-hander.
Los Angeles counters with Brett Anderson (7-7, 3.48), who is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA in his last five road starts. The left-hander's only start against the AL West-leading Astros came in 2013.
Houston (66-56) will try to avoid losing back-to-back home games for the first time since June 26-27 after being one-hit by Tampa Bay's Chris Archer in Thursday's 1-0 defeat. Colby Rasmus had the lone hit for Houston, which totaled eight runs while splitting that four-game set with the Rays.
''(Archer) was in complete control,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Though All-Star Jose Altuve went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts Thursday, he's batting .386 in the last 13 games.