The Red Sox, and the rest of baseball, open Interleague Play this weekend, which, for a change, could be bad news for Boston.
The A.L. has posted a winning record against the Senior Circuit in each of the past six seasons, and the Sox have posted the sixth-best mark in the American League, going 127-102 (.555) in I'League action since 1997. (For the record, the Yankees have the best all-time mark, and the Pirates the worst, some 38.5 games behind New York. I call that nugget The Least Surprising Bit of Baseball News You'll Read This Week.)
But in 2010, the Red Sox get a much-improved NL West, and a home-and-home set with the Phillies. It's that latter part that has Over The Monster worried.
So, are the Phillies still "that good?" The short answer is "yes." The slightly longer answer is "Oh, God, why?"
The Phillies combine, as we have been seeing lately, a top-of-the-line offense with a pitching staff that, though hurt by homers (tiny as their park is), maintains a top-5 xFIP. Lead by old friend Roy Halladay--who, yes, the Red Sox will get to face--the Phillies have as strong a staff as just about anyone, and their lineup manages to produce a .349 wOBA even without a DH.