After having the best MLB record since April, the Boston Red Sox find themselves praying that interleague play comes to an end. Last night, the Red Sox lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1. The Sox finally had an RBI… and who did it come from? John Lackey… go figure!
Boston needs to wake up their bats, get their $h!t together and reclaim first place in the AL East standings. The All Star game is not too far off and it would be a huge advantage for the Sox if they had a slight lead in the AL East heading into the All Star break. By the way, have you been voting for Sox players to go to the All Star game?
Boston is now 2.5 games out of first place and only 1.0 games ahead of Tampa Bay. Tampa has Boston in the cross-hairs and it would be disappointing for the team and fans to see the team fight back to first place after a dismal start and then fall back to 3rd place.
What this ball club needs is a nice home stand against an AL East team that they are very familiar with… On July 4th, the Red Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. The Red Sox need to win this series and take at least two games from Toronto. Additionally, Boston hosts the Baltimore Orioles directly after the Blue Jays. This would be a great time to make up some lost ground. hopefully the Sox can win 3 out of the 4 games with Baltimore. This would significantly put the team in a positive direction before the all star break. We’re looking for Boston to take 5 out of 7 (or better) from their next 7 home games at Fenway.
What could REALLY help the Red Sox though, is winning game 3 against Philadelphia today. It’s a 1:05 game and it would be really nice to see Boston get their bats going in this one. Today’s matchup is Jon Lester vs Cole Hamels. Both pitchers are 9-4 on the season so far. Hamels’ ERA is slightly better 2.49 vs Lester’s 3.36 ERA.
After today, Boston heads to Houston for a weekend series vs the Astros. The weather has been very hot in Texas the past few days and I am hoping that this will not hurt the Sox in any way shape or form. Houston is currently 28-53 on the season, but that doesn’t mean this will be a walk in the park for Boston. They are going to have to earn every run and work hard for a win.
Let’s go Boston! Reclaim 1st place before the All Star Break!
The teams were dealing with the talk as far back as March, and it’s been written about since Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez landed in Boston and Cliff Lee returned to Philadelphia. The Red Sox and Phillies are the favorites to meet in the 2011 World Series.
When the two met for the first time this year, at Boston’s Spring Training home in Florida on March 2, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. stirred the pot when he called Boston “the best club in baseball.”
“Anytime you bring that kind of talent to your club, they did a heck of a job,” Amaro said. “They already had a great team except for a whole [heck] of a lot of injuries.”
What’s transpired since has been meaningful — the regular season — and if record is the criteria, Amaro has been incorrect thus far. His Phillies have been baseball’s best team. They’re one win away from being the first to 50, and they’re the only club with a winning percentage over .600. Roy Halladay tossed his fifth complete game of the year in a 3-1 win over the A’s on Sunday.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, had a four-game losing streak heading into Sunday and were in danger of being swept by the Pirates. They avoided that with a 4-2 win, but are a half-game behind the Yankees for first place in the American League East.
Now, with a little more jazz than a spring meeting but not nearly the raucous of October, the Red Sox and Phils meet again, this time for a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park that starts Tuesday night.
“I think it probably could be two of the best,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said on Sunday when asked if the two teams are the best in the game.
Manuel could say the exact same thing about the pitchers set to throw on Monday, a duo that easily could headline, say, Game 1 of a hypothetical World Series. Lee and Josh Beckett — both Fall Classic veterans — face off at a time when both are pitching very well.
Beckett, the Majors’ ERA leader at 1.86, tossed a one-hit shutout his last time out against the Rays, while Lee’s tossed two shutouts in a row and has allowed just one earned run in his past four starts, spanning 33 innings.
“Those are fun games to play,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “You go in knowing you’re not going to knock it around the ballpark, but they’re fun games to play.”
The problem for Beckett, though, could be that he hasn’t been out there in a bit. That shutout came on June 15, and the flu has given him 12 days of rest before this start.
Francona didn’t seem concerned.
“It’s not like he’s got a bad arm,” Francona said. “He was sick and it took a lot out of him, but I don’t think that [the time off was a disadvantage]. We’ll keep an eye on him and if he’s running out of gas, but like I said, it’s not like he’s hurt. He was just sick.”
For now, the Red Sox and Phillies meeting is meaningful more to the fans than the teams. “We’re gonna have a nice sellout,” Hamels said. But it could, to some extent, impact a potential October meeting. Any time two clubs get a look at each other, there’s plenty of notes being taken by both sides.
“That’s completely different,” Manuel said of the playoffs. “But at the same time, we get to play them, we get to see them a little bit.”
Red Sox: Francona comes back, again
Francona returned to Philadelphia as an opposing manager for the first time last year, when the Red Sox took two of three at Citizens Bank Park.
Francona, who’s only managed for Boston and Philadelphia in the big leagues, went 285-363 from 1997-2000 with Philadelphia.
With the team in Pittsburgh Sunday — a city Francona grew up outside of — for the series against the Pirates, he was asked how the reception would be different in Philadelphia.
“Well, I didn’t grow up there,” he said. “And they don’t like me.”
Phillies: Like Sox, Phils banged up
Ryan Madson and Roy Oswalt are out for the Phillies, and Brian Schneider has just returned, while the Red Sox have dealt with injuries to Crawford, Bobby Jenks and Jed Lowrie.
Manuel said he was aware of the similarities between the two teams’ injury situations, but wasn’t looking at either as handicapped.
“That’s the luck of the game — go get ’em,” Manuel said. “We’ll play with what we got, and I’m sure they are, too. That’s what we have, I’m sure they feel the same way.”
The Red Sox are 26-17 against the Phillies all time, and took four of six from Philadelphia last season. (source: redsox.com)