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Gearing Up for the Red Sox

Posted by Corey Seidman, Mon, June 27, 2011 06:28 PM | Comments: 17
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The Phillies have lost eight consecutive series to the Red Sox dating back to 2003. They’ve been outscored 147-99 in the process, often looking outclassed by their American League “natural rivals.” It just hasn’t been a good matchup for the Phils…it isn’t a good matchup for any team. Year after year, Boston boasts one of the top two most patient, dynamic lineups in baseball. 2011 is no exception.

The Red Sox have received tremendous production this year from Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury. Gonzalez leads baseball in batting average (.361) and RBI (71), Ortiz is experience a renaissance season (.311/.391/.581) and Ellsbury has consistently set the table for Boston’s plethora of run producers. The centerfielder leads the AL in steals and is fifth with 55 runs scored. His .827 OPS is nine points lower than Ryan Howard‘s.

Terry Francona is toying with the idea of playing Gonzalez in right field in order to get Ortiz on the field in an NL stadium. You may see this as good news, because the Phils have two lefties going in the series and the combo of Ortiz at first and Gonzalez in right is sure to diminish Boston’s defense. But Ortiz is killing same-handed pitching this year (1.004 OPS vs. lefties, more walks than strikeouts) and the fluidly moving Gonzalez could probably play a respectable right field. The presence of Gonzalez has helped Ortiz a ton – the former San Diegan has taught his opposite field approach to the aging Ortiz, allowing the latter to experience his best season since Abraham Nunez played third base for the Phillies.

What a tough lineup…

Aside from the key contributors listed above, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis are also quietly getting it done. Neither would say they’ve played to the best of their abilities, but both have ridiculously high on-base percentages and do quite a bit of slugging. The duo has already combined for 100 walks.

Luckily for the Phillies, the Red Sox won’t be throwing their top pitchers. Oh wait, that’s not true.

Sandwiched around John Lackey on Wednesday are Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86) and Jon Lester (9-4, 3.66.) Beckett leads the AL in ERA and Lester is the Junior Circuit version of Cole Hamels. In past years, I’d say the Phils could hit one of these two aces. The Phillies of yesteryear struggled against mediocre pitchers but seemed to thrive against those with extraordinary stuff. But unfortunately, the 2011 team can’t hit anyone — whether it’s Jair Jurrjens (good), Kyle McLellan (bad), or Guillermo Moscoso (ugly.)

Luckily, the Phils have two aces of their own going in this series: Cliff Lee on Tuesday, Hamels on Thursday. Lee is in the midst of an incredible streak in which he’s allowed one run in 33 innings. Hamels has been dominant against Boston in his career, winning all three starts while posting a 1.71 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and as many strikeouts as innings pitched.

Taking two of three will be a tall order. Obviously, the best chance for runs will come against Lackey, who has been a shell of his former self since arriving in Boston. But I see the Red Sox crushing Vance Worley in that game, giving Lackey a big lead to play with.

If the Phils want to avoid a sweep, they’ll either need to beat the odds and get to Beckett or Lester, or ride brilliant performances from Lee/Hamels to a low-scoring victory.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I am sorry but I hate the DH in the AL. I dont look at that spot as a player. Fatso is not a ballplayer because he has no skill in the field. He is so overrated.

     
    • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

      Calling David Ortiz fat is like calling Ryan Howard fat. It’s not true in either case. Ortiz has slimmed down every offseason since 2007 and is built mostly of muscle like Howard.

       
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    We will have our hands full with this gang from Beantown. They can hit, pitch, run and kick ass. BUT, they have been known to go into a funk. Not against us, I’m afraid.

     
  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    When our boys are hitting – there is no need to fear any lineup. Problem is, we just have not been able to get it together enough for any team to fear us.

    Will Jimmy ever play consistently good offense like we have seen in the past? Will Chase Utley start hitting the ball consistently hard to right field and regain some pop? I have given up on Raul, Brown has worn thin on me & when people do not get on base in front of Poly and Howard, their effectiveness is nullified. Chooch has been a hit or miss this season (mostly miss) I think the only consistency we have seen so far has been from Vic (offensively at least).

    Someone said it the other day, if we did not have the pitching staff we are so proud of, this team would be struggling at .500 at best.

     
  • Posts: 1099 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    I think one plus is the Phillies have handled Gonzolaz when he played for the Padres, or maybe it just seems like they did to me. I do not have any numbers to back that up, and you could pitch around him when he was the only guy that could hit on the padres. I would not be surprised if Woorley pitches well but only for a maybe 6-7 innings, the big thing when he pitches is that the Sox will take walks all day, I think this will play into Lee and think he may shut them down. I would like to win the series but for me it is not that big of a deal in June what you do against AL teams, Back in 2009 the Yankees slap the Phillie pitchers around except for Moyer who won the only game in that series in NY and Yes the yankees did win the world series but it was a lot tighter then when they played in June. Utley is coming into form I am not sure what games you have watching Brooks, but isn’t Chase hitting over 300 over his last like 18-20 games? Looking forward to a great series

     
    • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

      Not only have the Phillies *not* handled Adrian Gonzalez, he’s one the top 3 current hitters vs. them (Todd Helton, Julio Lugo.)

      In 141 plate appearances vs. the Phils, A-Gon has hit .350/.440/.709 (1.149 OPS) with 13 homers, his most against any non-NL West opponent. He has 9 homers in 65 at-bats at Citizens Bank Park. He’s been absolutely impossible for the Phillies to get out, and you can’t pitch around him in this lineup.

       
    • Posts: 2071 Brooks

      Avatar of Brooks

      beta, dude – your way off on your analysis this time. Yes, I have been watching the games and going to quite a few watching as Utley has hit most of his balls to left field and some to center, with relatively no pop. You were completely wrong about AGON and in 09, after Doc lost game 1 vs the Yanks, I was at game 2 when Moyer pitched probably his last great game and the Phils won AND, the Phils won the final game of that 3 game series with KK on the mound.

      I do hope you’re right about a great series. But the pressure is on this offense, the Pitching has proven time and again they are the class of the league.

      Jroll, Utley, Raul (choke), Ruiz & Brown all need to start getting on base, consistently in order for Howard & Poly to be effective.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    any phillies fan who is afraid of the big bad red sox is a pathetic loser. we are better than this team and will show it. phils are easily the best team in baseball.

     
  • Posts: 103 buffy08210

    Avatar of buffy08210

    Really?

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Long as our boys dont get swept i will be happy. Any team can beat any team at any time that’s why they play the games. Both clubs have experienced Vets that have played in the most demanding situations. This will be certainly be a test for our Phils. Realistically i have to favor Boston here. But of course im rooting for the red pin stripes.

     
  • Posts: 0 DocNose

    We’re dead, sure as the nose on my face we’re getting swept.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I wouldnt we dead DocNose dont count the Phils out yet.

     
  • Posts: 11 philliesphanmike

    Avatar of philliesphanmike

    Gotta love Ryan Howard since his start with the Phillies at the Lakewood BlueClaws minor system. His numbers have been getting better and better as the season is going on. For us to win this series we need his bat.

     
  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    All I have to say Docnose is “The cream rises to the top”

    I dont know, my grand dad used to tell me this a lot…

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Two good teams. Being patient is not going to work against Lee and Hamels who don’t give walks (vs Worley is another matter). Should be fun!

    Pitching and fielding, pitching and fielding.

     
  • Posts: 0 Hot Dog

    This should be a very good series. Boston just finished a week where they went 2-4 against the Padres at home and on the road in Pittsburgh. So I am not ready to concede a sweep. I think we might be giving them just a little to much credit. It will be interesting to see if they play Ortiz in the field. I wonder if the players are amped up as much as the fan base is for this series.

     
  • Posts: 2071 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    This could very well be the prelude to the final Post Season showdown and I’m pretty excited.
    Hot Dog, the lineup for the Sox looks to be pretty functional – we seem to be quite satisfied if the Phils can score 4 runs (if they score at least 4 runs in each of these games, I bet they take 2 of 3!).

    Going Thursday – Hamels vs Lester. This will be my first time seeing Lester pitch.

     
 
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