The Phillies and Red Sox start a home-and-home series tonight, with the first two in Boston and the last two in Philly. The Phillies come in losers of five straight after stringing together four straight wins, while the Red Sox took two of three from the Tigers at home and sit in second place in the AL East, four games behind the Yankees. The Phillies, meanwhile … are not a good baseball team. But hey, Scott Kingery hit another home run last night.
Yes, people. This is what we’ve come to. We get excited for a double-A player hitting home runs in a hitter-friendly park.
WHAT TO EXPECT
A lot of drunk Phillies fans on Yawkey Way, then a lot of drunk Red Sox fans on Delaware Avenue for two teams that usually travel well to the others’ stadiums. In terms of baseball, the Red Sox are somewhat underwhelming this year. They were thought to have the best offense in baseball coming into this year, and with the addition of Chris Sale, they were in the discussion for best rotation. But Rick Porcello has been a disaster coming off a Cy Young season, and David Price just joined the team a couple weeks ago after dealing with a shoulder injury. They haven’t scored the boatload of runs we expected them to, and to make matters worse for Red Sox fans, it’s the Yankees that have jetted out to first place. But if you’re looking to get started on a streak, there are worse ways to do it than play four straight against the Phils without having to face Aaron Nola. Who are we kidding … it’s not an issue even if they did face Nola.
Monday, 7:10 p.m.: Jerad Eickhoff (0-7, 5.15 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.46 ERA), Fenway Park
Porcello has been a mess, even though he’s gone at least six innings in 12 of his 13 starts. After winning the Cy Young last season, he’s regressed to giving up 56 hits in his last six starts. But hey, the good news for him is he’s facing Eickhoff, who has been even more of a mess. This game screams, “Take the over!” but I wouldn’t bet a nickel for the Phillies lineup to come through for me.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Ben Lively (1-1, 2.57 ERA) vs. David Price (1-1, 5.29 ERA), Fenway Park
It’s way too early to be excited about Lively’s prospects after his first two starts, but they’ve absolutely been encouraging. At a time when Phillies starters can’t seem to get through five innings, Lively has gone seven innings in each of his first two starts. This, however, will be the toughest start of his career in the bandbox of Fenway against one the best pitchers in baseball. It’s a lot to ask of Lively, but it might be a good way to see what kind of character he brings with him.
Wednesday, 7:05: Jeremy Hellickson (5-4, 4.50 ERA) vs. TBA, Citizens Bank Park
The four-game home-and-home comes to Philadelphia, where at this point you’d think that TBA has a pretty good chance against this Phillies lineup. Hellickson hasn’t had a decent start since May 19, but the Phillies have to hope he starts to turn it around so they can flip him at the deadline. At this point Hellickson might be kicking himself that he didn’t opt for free agency after the 2016 season. He may have cost himself $20 million or so, because no one is going four years and $65 million on him at this point, which what we all thought he could command at the end of last season.
Thursday, 7:05 p.m.: Nick Pivetta (1-3, 5.52 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (8-2, 2.97 ERA), Citizens Bank Park
Sale has looked surprisingly human lately, giving up at least three earned runs in each of his last four starts and at least six hits in each of his last five starts. If you were talking about a Phillies starter, that’s a great stretch. For Sale, it makes him look pedestrian. And then there is the one career start he’s had against the Phillies last season where he gave up six earned runs in four innings before being chased. So we’re all whipping out our wallets and betting against him, right? Uhhhhh …