"Things have gone probably as anticipated," Utley said. "No worse than the first day, which is a good thing. It's all about trying to be as consistent as possible."
He likely will lobby manager Charlie Manuel for the chance to play in three straight games for the first time Thursday. There were no ill effects on his chronically bad knees Wednesday when he played in a day game after a night game for the first time.
"I wasn't really sure [how the knees would react], but it wasn't a big deal," Utley said.
Six games represents the smallest of sample sizes, but the results have supported Utley's claim of stronger knees. A third of his hits are home runs, and even many of his outs have been hit hard.
Utley is hitting .273 (6-for-22) after his first full week.
"He's OK. He's been driving some balls," Manuel said. "He hit the home run hard. He hit another hard to centerfield; he drove that ball. His swing is getting better. You have to remember he didn't have any spring training and the competition was A-ball players mostly."
Manuel agreed Utley looks stronger. "He's running better," the manager said.
Utley's homer was his sixth at Citi Field, tying him with Raul Ibanez for most by a visiting player in the ballpark's 4-year existence.
The task will be no easier Thursday, when the Phillies face Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. As one of baseball's best first-half stories, Dickey could start for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game. He has a career 2.40 ERA in seven starts against the Phillies. He held them to one run in seven innings in April.
"He's been real hot," Manuel said. "His command is real good, and he throws a lot of strikes. His ball moves."
Dickey has allowed one or no runs in seven of his previous eight starts. He uses two variations of the knuckeball, a slow one and a harder one. His recent command of the pitch is matched by few who have ever thrown it.
"He's tough," Utley said. "You don't face those knuckleballs too often."
Dickey will be opposed by Cole Hamels, who once spoiled a potential Dickey no-hitter with the Phillies' lone hit in a 2010 game.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth inning even with a seven-run lead, because it was his first action since June 26. "We had to make sure we nailed that one down," Manuel said, laughing …? Juan Pierre's stolen base in the fourth inning was his 20th of the season and marked the 12th straight year he's accomplished the feat?…?The Phillies tacked on six runs against a Mets bullpen with a 5.11 ERA this season. That is the worst in baseball — yes, even worse than the Phillies.
Contact Matt Gelb at firstname.lastname@example.org.