Boston Red Sox (19-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (21-20)
SP - Josh Beckett (3-4, 4.97) v. Cliff Lee (0-1, 1.95)
1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, 1B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, RF
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Daniel Nava, LF
8. Marlon Byrd, CF
9. Josh Beckett, P
1. Nice to see the Red Sox play well over a West Springfield week, winning 7 of their last 9 games. If the Sox can keep within striking distance of a playoff spot between now and the All-Star Game, they could make a run at playing into October because by mid-July they should have Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back in the lineup and Andrew Bailey back in the bullpen.
2. Speaking of the bullpen, it has become a source of strength for Bobby Valentine's club in recent weeks. The bullpen's ERA is 3.70 and their WHIP is 1.257, compared to the starters 5.25 and 1.517. Alfredo Aceves (9 saves) has grown into the closer's job and the set-up crew of Rich Hill, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, and Scott Atchison is consistently getting the job done.
When Bailey returns from his thumb surgery - and if Mark Melancon (0-2, 49.50 ERA in 4 games with Boston in April but has not allowed a run in 13 games with Pawtucket) is ever brought back - the bullpen should get even stronger.
3. It just doesn't look right seeing Jonathan Papelbon in a Phillies uniform.