Phillies (20-19) vs Boston Red Sox (18-20)7:05 p.m. on CSN
Who thought that when the Phillies and Red Sox met in mid-May that both teams would be in last place?
The Phillies return home to face the Red Sox in their semi-annual interleague rivalry series over .500 for the first time since Opening Day. Winners of five straight, the Phils have a tough six-game homestand ahead.
After facing Daniel Bard Friday, theyll take on five consecutive tough hurlers in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson.
Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28) will make his eighth start in what has been a stellar 2012 campaign. Hamels is second in the National League in WHIP, second in strikeout-to-walk ratio and third in swinging strike percentage.
Hamels is riding a stretch of six consecutive quality starts. Hes surrendered one run in three of those outings and two runs in the remaining three.
Hes completely handcuffed the Red Sox in four starts, going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA. Boston has hit just .191 off Hamels, though 11 of their 17 hits have gone for extra bases.
A few Red Sox have proven troublesome for Hamels. Dustin Pedroia is 5 for 12, Adrian Gonzalez is a .333 hitter in 24 at-bats with a pair of homers and new Red Sox outfielder Cody (expletive) Ross has four homers off Hamels in 35 at-bats.
Hamels is opposed by Bard, who just this year transitioned from late-inning reliever to starting pitcher. Bard is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA in seven appearances (six starts), and has an ugly ratio of strikeouts (23) to walks (20).
Bard has struggled as he has gone deeper into games. The opposition has a .361 batting average off Bard after his 45th pitch.
Boston owns a 29-17 advantage in the 46-game series. The Phillies and Red Sox have met every since 1997, with the exception of 2002 and 2007.
The Phils have won three of the last four meetings dating back to a Hamels Sunday afternoon gem in June 2010.
Chooch has a .363 batting average, fourth-best in the majors. He went 4 for 5 on Thursday with a double and three RBI. Hes been nothing short of spectacular at the plate this season, and the context of the game hasnt mattered. Hes a .407 hitter off lefties and a .321 hitter against righties. At home, hes at .320; on the road, .362. He hit .313 in April and is batting .386 in May. During the day, .333; at night, .346.
Its odd to see that Shane Victorino has a .325 batting average with runners in scoring position because he hasnt come through in such opportunities lately. Over the last four games, Victorino is 1 for 14 and has stranded 14 baserunners.
Hamels vs. the ever-disciplined Pedroia. When Pedroia reaches base more than once in a game, the Red Sox average 6.4 runs. When he reaches one or no times, Boston scores 4.2
Do you still enjoy interleague play?
E-mail Corey Seidman at firstname.lastname@example.org