Phillies-Red Sox (Game 53): Must-Know Stuff
Phillies (25-27) vs. Boston Red Sox (31-21)
First pitch at 7:05 p.m.
With last night’s 3-1 win, the Phillies did well to steal one in Boston before packing up and heading home for two more.
But Citizens Bank Park won’t mean smooth sailing. Not against the Red Sox.
Since 2004, the Phillies are 7-14 against Boston at home.
Phillie starters have a 6.03 ERA. Batters have hit .219.
So no, taking their third series in four and reaching .500 for the first time since Apr. 14 won’t come easy.
The Bright Side In Kendrick’s BBs
Had Kyle Kendrick (4-3, 3.29 ERA) been crushed for an 0-2 mark and 7.36 ERA his last two games with his usual command, you’d have to start to wonder about the sustainability of what he’d done before. But in those last two starts, command Kendrick did not have.
He walked four in back to back starts. That’s a career first.
Before May 18 and the Reds, Kendrick had only walked 10 in 22 2/3 innings all year, with 21 strikeouts. Add last Friday in Washington, and Kendrick has issued freebies to eight in 11 frames with only three Ks, leading to 12 baserunners in each game. Hardly a winning formula.
But being “off” is fixable. Getting beat when you’re on, less so.
That said, the Red Sox have drawn more walks this month than any team in the game, and Kendrick is 0-2 with a 12.90 ERA in two career starts against Boston, both at Citizens Bank Park, neither longer than five innings. Though KK hasn’t seen the Sox since 2010 in any role.
Is Lackey Back…ey?
It’s unclear exactly when John Lackey (3-4, 2.72 ERA) tore his UCL in 2011, and it’s probably likely that he went 10 or 12 starts with a bum arm. Still, Lackey was ineffective that whole year.
Now, not so.
Lackey, 34, is not only on pace for his first sub-3.00 ERA season ever, making him that guy with the Angels who commanded a five-year, $82.5 million deal in 2009, but he’s doing it with more Ks.
After tinkering with his pitch selection to compensate for an inevitable dip in velocity – where he used to build around his two best pitches, his cutter and slider, Lackey’s begun going to his four-seamer first, to set up the other two– Lackey’s striking out over one batter per inning.
This year, save for one hiccup against the Rays, Lackey’s surrendered only three runs once. In his last two, he’s dealt 13 scoreless frames and allowed only six baserunners – to the Indians and Twins.
Chasing Lackey early will be key. In three of seven starts this year, he’s gone five innings or fewer. He’s also a 4.58 ERA guy on the road this year, despite having 0.90 ERA stuff at Fenway Park.
Against Lackey, Michael Young, who busted out of a 22 at-bat schneid with yesterday’s first-inning jack off Ryan Dempster, has 33 career hits, more than any player.
Cliff Lee going eight innings yesterday puts the Phillie bullpen at full strength.
Namely, Mike Stutes (one earned in 4 1/3 innings) is available for use in long relief situations instead of Chad Durbin (12.27 ERA in last 7 appearances).
Wait… Who’s Hot?
Obviously Domonic Brown. But, surprisingly, Ben Revere and Erik Kratz are tearing, too.
With a 2 for 5 night last night, Revere punched his third-straight multi-hit game and upped his month-of-May average to .344 and on-base percentage to .394.
Kratz went 2 for 3 with a solo shot, giving him a .291/.392/.792 line with three bombs in his last seven games.