It's been a tough week for the Red Sox, who dropped four straight games to National League opponents while a good deal of their team waited out injuries. All that could be forgotten, however, should the Sox take the series from Philadelphia. The Phillies have only been one game better than the Sox over their last 10, but the Sox' struggles have seemed more pronounced, while Philly has more-or-less cruised to the best record in all of baseball.
No small part of Philly's success can be attributed to its dominant rotation, featuring the likes of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. This quartet has spared a somewhat patchwork bullpen enough to keep the Phillies at the top (or, depending how you look at it, bottom) of the pack when it comes to run prevention--they've given up only 257 on the year, good for a league-best 3.25 per game.
If the Sox can figure out their no. 5 hitter (a spot which has stranded 18 runners in just three games), or should they choose to fit both David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez into the lineup, this could prove to be the classic matchup of the unstoppable force and the immovable object--with 409 runs scored and a .799 OPS, the Sox are the best offensive bunch in the country.
The series will start off with a band when Josh Beckett takes on Cliff Lee Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Boston Red Sox (45-32) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (49-30)
Tuesday, June 28, 7:05 p.m.
Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87 ERA)
Wednesday, June 29, 7:05 p.m.
John Lackey (5-6, 7.36 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83 ERA)
Thursday, June 30, 1:05 p.m.
Jon Lester (9-4, 3.66 ERA) vs. Cole Hamerls (9-4, 2.49 ERA)