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Red Sox Vs Phillies Lineups: Pitchers' Duel In Line As Josh Beckett Takes On Cliff Lee

The Red Sox will bat Darnell McDonald fifth and Mike Cameron seventh Tuesday night against Cliff Lee in the Phillies, stacking their lineup with right-handers against the southpaw who has proven so very difficult for lefties to solve.

Unfortunately, Terry Francona has apparently not learned the lesson that it is not right-handed pitchers the confound Cameron and McDonald, but pitchers in general. McDonald is currently hitting .109/.163/.174 on the season--numbers which look little better when his few at bats against righties are filtered out. Mike Cameron's .541 OPS against southpaws at least approaches Mendoza territory, but he combines it with some embarassingly bad defense.

In their series against the Pirates, the Red Sox put fourteen men on base for Darnell McDonald, and he did not score a single one. It's hard to imagine what could possibly be going through Terry Francona's head right now. My best guess is that he feels bad for the hard times he put Philadelphia fans through in the four years they gave him before running him out of town. 

Boston Red Sox (45-32)

 

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  5. Darnell McDonald, LF
  6. Jason Varitek, C
  7. Mike Cameron, RF
  8. Marco Scutaro, SS
  9. Josh Beckett, P
The Phillies will respond with a group that had some difficulty scoring in their last three games against the A's, putting up just five runs despite escaping with two wins.

Philadelphia Phillies (49-30)
  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Placido Polanco, 3B
  3. Chase Utley, 2B
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Shane Victorino, CF
  6. Raul Ibanez, LF
  7. Dominic Brown, RF
  8. Carlos Ruiz, C
  9. Cliff Lee, P

Pitching Matchup: Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.89 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87)

It's been 12 long days since the last time Josh Beckett took the mound for the Red Sox, with illness leading him to be scratched for both his scheduled start, and the expected makeup.

When he did pitch last, he was masterful, missing a perfect game against the Rays by only a single hit. The Rays aren't the most impressive offensive team out there at the moment, but then again, neither are the Phillies. Ryan Howard is hitting homers but not much else, Chase Utley has been dealing with injury, and Shane Victorino is the only saving grace in an otherwise dismal outfield. If Beckett isn't rusty, this shouldn't be the lineup that upsets his incredible run.

On the other hand, it's hard to see why the Red Sox would necessarily be the ones to turn the tables on Cliff Lee. Adrian Gonzalez has some remarkable numbers off him, and a number of the other Sox have some decent showings off of him, but hardly in any great sample size. Lee is fresh off two complete game shutouts, and while he didn't exactly dominate them with strikeouts, he's more than capable of doing that on any given night.