NEW YORK — Chase Utley joined the ranks of John Rocker and Pete Rose as the object of Mets' fans ire, with the New York crowd directing boos and profane chants at the Dodgers second baseman before Game 3 of the NL Division Series on Monday night.
Two days after his slide to break up a double play fractured the right leg of Mets SS Ruben Tejada at Dodger Stadium, Utley was eligible to play while appealing his two-game suspension.
With the series tied at one, fans prepared for Citi Field's first playoff game by directing their ire at Utley with chants on the No. 7 subway line to the ballpark. They booed loudly when Utley was introduced sixth among Dodgers reserves before the game, between ace Clayton Kershaw and backup Justin Ruggiano.
Tejada, using a blue cane with an orange Mets logo, was cheered boisterously.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his view earlier, pronouncing Utley "guilty as sin."
Under the sport's collective bargaining agreement, the hearing is to start within 14 days of Major League Baseball receiving the appeal. Penalties are held in abeyance pending a decision.
"I feel like MLB got, you know, maybe a little bit bullied into suspending him. Never happened before. I've seen slides a lot worse," Kershaw said. "There's a lot of people that have a lot of different opinions about it that probably shouldn't because they're not middle infielders and they have no idea what they're talking about."
John McHale Jr., the baseball executive who will hear the appeal, listened to the positions of management and the players' union on timing and is expected to set a date today.
Instead of Utley, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly started Howie Kendrick at second.
"Howie's been swinging the bat good, and we feel like he gives us the best chance to win," Mattingly said.
BELTRE Back: 3B Adrian Beltre let the Rangers know he was ready to play and was a late addition to their starting lineup for Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Beltre wasn't in manager Jeff Banister's initial lineup but was added about an hour before the start of the game against the Blue Jays. He missed Games 2 and 3 after playing only the first two innings in the opener Thursday before exiting with a strained lower back.
OOPS: Late in the game between the Astros and Royals, a tweet from the account of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Houston on advancing to the AL Championship Series. The Astros, who were leading 6-2 entering the eighth inning, lost 9-6. Abbott later tweeted from his personal account: "Hey @Astros fans. Unfollow --> @GovAbbott. Follow the REAL Greg Abbott right here. No predictions. Just support."
HOMER MARK: A total of 21 home runs were hit Monday, a record for one day in postseason play. The Dodgers' Howie Kendrick capped the barrage with a ninth-inning blast against the Mets. The mark had been 15 during four postseason games on Oct. 3, 1995, according to STATS.
STAUB HONORED: Former Mets star Rusty Staub threw out the ceremonial first pitch less than two weeks after having a heart attack. Staub, 71, a six-time All-Star, walked slowly to a spot about 25 feet from home plate and bounced a soft throw to third-base coach Tim Teufel.
KERSHAW GETS CALL: Kershaw will start on three days' rest for the Dodgers in Game 4 tonight, Mattingly announced.