Money Line: Boston OFF Philadelphia OFF
Total Line: OFF
The Boston Red Sox travel to Citizens Bank Park this Friday night for the start of a three-game Interleague series with the Philadelphia Phillies in a showdown of two perennial favorites trying to get their seasons back on track. Game 1 is slated for a 7:05 p.m. (ET) start and it will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network.
Boston continues to battle through another horrendously slow start and with a 5-1 record in its last six games heading into Thursday’s contest against Tampa Bay it is now 17-20 on the year and 6.5 games back in the AL East. The Red Sox are 9-11 at home and 8-9 on the road. The total has gone ‘over’ in 22 of their first 37 games.
Hitting has not been the problem for Boston with the third-best team batting average in the Majors at .275 and an average of 5.41 runs per game. Pitching has been a whole other issue with a team ERA of 4.70 which is the third worst in the Majors. Manager Bobby Valentine has yet to name a starter for Friday night as he continues to tinker with his rotation.
Philadelphia has also struggled out of the gate as the team is starting to show its age. It has managed to string together four straight wins this week including a 9-2 pounding of Chicago on Wednesday night as a 147 road underdog. The Phillies are now an even 19-19 (10-10 at home) on the year heading into Thursday’s series finale against the Cubs and 4.5 games behind Washington in the NL East. The total has gone ‘over’ in 21 of their 38 games.
With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still out of the lineup Philadelphia has had a hard time consistently putting runs on the board. It is currently ranked 17th in the Majors with a total of 151 runs scored. The Phillies have a respectable team ERA of 3.42, but this is well above their standards. Cole Hamel will get the start on Friday night. As the one bright spot so far, the left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA.
The Red Sox are 42-16 in their last 58 games against the NL East and the total has stayed ‘under’ in seven of their last 11 interleague road games.
The Phillies are 8-3 in their last 11 games against the AL East. The total has stayed ‘under’ in three of Hamels’ last four interleague starts.
Head-to-head, Boston is 20-8 in the last 28 meetings and 13-6 in its last 19 games in Philadelphia. The total has stayed ‘under’ in four of the last six meetings in Philadelphia.
Given that the Red Sox will not have designated hitter David Ortiz in the lineup and Philadelphia has Hamels on the mound, the edge in the series opener goes to the Phillies. Philadelphia 4 Boston 3
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.