Keys to the series: Limit Ellsbury; no late ties

Keys to the series: Limit Ellsbury; no late ties

May 27, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Breaking down the keys to the Phillies’ two-game series in Boston:

Limit Ellsbury's chances

The Red Sox have so many high on-base guys and run producers that when leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury gets on base and can use his speed, they’re nearly unbeatable.

Boston is 14-7 this season and averages 5.5 runs when Ellsbury reaches at least twice in a game. When he doesn’t, the Sox winning percentage is 100 points lower and they average just 3.2 runs per game.

Ellsbury is hitting just .249/.319/.338 this season with one homer. He leads the AL with 15 steals, but he’s not the same guy who hit .321 with a .928 OPS and 32 homers and 46 doubles in 2011.

Score off the starters

These games cannot be tied late if the Phillies hope to win. Even without Joel Hanrahan, the Red Sox have several elite arms in the bullpen.

Closer Andrew Bailey has a 1.88 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.

Koji Uehara has a 1.83 ERA and 28 strikeouts to four walks in 19 2/3 innings.

Junichi Tazawa has a 2.53 ERA and 27 strikeouts to three walks in 21 1/3 innings.

Lefties are hitting .229 against southpaws Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller.

Boston simply has much more depth in the bullpen than the Phillies, even if Mike Adams is back.

The Phillies face two hittable starters at Fenway in Alfredo Aceves and Ryan Dempster, who has a 6.89 ERA against them since 2010.