Philadelphia Phillies (26-15) at Boston Red Sox (22-21)
Jamie Moyer, LHP (6-5, 3.98 ERA) vs. John Lackey, RHP (6-3, 4.72 ERA)
Time: 7:10, Fenway Park
Weather: Overcast, 55°
TV: Comcast SportsNet
The Phillies tough interleague schedule begins tonight in Boston, as the ageless Jamie Moyer takes on the ugliest pitcher in major league history, John Lackey.
Moyer has been nothing short of brilliant in his last six starts, compiling a 2.76 ERA in 42 1/3 innings and holding opposing hitters to a ridiculous .192/.241/.285 slash-line. In those 42 1/3 innings, Moyer has allowed a mere 29 hits, 21 of which have been singles. He has walked nine and struck out 18.
But the Red Sox represent a different challenge for Young Jamie. Facing a patient AL lineup in a hitter’s park could prove troublesome, but predictions of Moyer’s outings are futile – nobody has any idea how he continues to pitch this effectively but he does it nonetheless. The Phils will catch a break as Kevin Youkilis is out of the lineup tonight after tweaking his back in last night’s walkoff loss to the Cleveland Injuns.
Well, I’ve gone three brief paragraphs without mentioning the Phillies offense, so we might as well address the slumping elephant in the room. The Phils were shutout for the seventh time last night, after being shutout only seven time in all of 2009.
Josh Johnson was as stingy as he’s ever been, and you can’t really fault the Phillies for failing to muster a run last night. It’s getting shut down by the Wade LeBlancs of the world that make nights like Thursday extremely frustrating, because the Phillies are neither hitting pitchers they SHOULD hit nor hitting pitchers they SHOULDN’T hit during this 7-14 run.
The Phils will employ a designated hitter for the first time this season, and his name is Ross Gload. (The entire city emitted a collective sigh when they found out Greg Dobbs wouldn’t be in the lineup.)
The Phils lineup will shake out as follows: 1) Vic-CF; 2) Polancey-3B; 3) The Man-2B; 4) The Sizable Sliver-1B; 5) FallsDownWhenSwings-RF; 6) Release Me-LF; 7) Gload-DH; 8) Chooch-C; 9) Non-Double Play Utilityman-SS
(Victorino, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Gload, Ruiz, Castro)
The Phils pounded Lackey when these teams last met at Citizens Bank Park, and tonight he can’t complain about the stadium. This period of offensive misery began the night after the Phillies blasted Lackey, so perhaps they can break out of it the night they face him again.
They’ll need the bats to wake up – the next nine games on the Phillies schedule are against teams with a combined 107-75 record.
Your Gameday Beer- Today’s beer is Red Rocket Ale. Careful, this Amber/Red Ale is on fire. Its deep cinnamon color makes for a beautiful pour so be sure to release it from the bottle. Its hoppy, caramel malt flavor comes from a complex recipe of five different grains. If you can, roast a chicken with all the fix-ins. -By Brian