Boston Red Sox (32-22) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-27)
For the second time this series, the Phillies will catch a break by missing an ace-caliber pitcher. On Monday, it was Clay Buchholz who the BoSox held back due to shoulder soreness. Tonight, Boston will push back Jon Lester to take Buchholz’s scheduled start tomorrow. Pitching in Lester’s wake will be the versatile Franklin Morales, who is expected to be a reliever for the Sox over the long haul. Morales, 27, has yet to make an appearance this season. Over the course of his career, Morales has made five appearances against the Phils, with his lone start coming way back in 2007 as a member of the Rockies. In other words, he’s a pitcher the Phils haven’t really seen, and that usually spells trouble. Among the hitters starting tonight, only Jimmy Rollins has faced Morales more than five times. No one has yet faced him ten times.
As for Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone, many of us are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Pettibone has gotten great results so far, but the numbers seem hollow. He’s got a 3.21 ERA, but a 4.51 xFIP. That is largely due to an 85.3 LOB%. As our own Corey Seidman tweeted earlier, opponents are hitting .330 against Pettibone when the bases are empty, but just .206 with runners on base. Those numbers aren’t sustainable. Eventually, Pettibone is going to come back to earth. This could spell bad news with a potent Red Sox offense that is third in the AL in runs scored and fourth in OPS. Consider that the Red Sox have an OPS of .818 versus righthanders (compared to a .684 against lefties), and it could be the first rocky outing of Pettibone’s young career.
A couple lineup notes: Cesar Hernandez makes his first big league start after being recalled from Lehigh Valley yesterday in place of the bereaved Michael Young. It should be a short stay for Hernandez, but fans will get a glimpse of what the 23-year old brings to the table. Ryan Howard sits, likely in need of the rest because of a balky knee. Domonic Brown moves up in the order, but Manuel curiously opts not to bat him cleanup in lieu of the resting Howard.
Lineup: Revere CF, Hernandez 2B, Rollins SS, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Frandsen 1B, Kratz C, Galvis 3B, Pettibone P
Your Gameday Beer: Sam Adams Boston Ale
Boston’s most famous brewer is Sam Adams. When people go with Sam’s standard offerings, the most popular is the Boston Lager. I’ve always been more of a fan of the Boston Ale, however. The taste starts off with a combination of sweetness and malts, but finishes heavy on the hops, leaving drinker’s with a taste much more complex than its lager counterpart. While the lager may be the casual Sam drinkers selection, the Boston Ale is the beer drinker’s beer. Have it with a steak, some vegetables and some cheeses to get in touch with your Colonial America self. –RD