Red Sox-Phillies Preview
Tuesday night marked a rare time the Boston Red Sox failed to produce offensively.
On Wednesday night, facing a pitcher who they've dominated in the past, the Red Sox look to reignite their offense as their interleague series against the Phillies shifts to Philadelphia.
The Red Sox (32-21), who have drawn more walks than any other team in May and also rank among the league leaders in runs scored, were stymied by Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon on Tuesday. The pair shut out Boston through the final eight innings of Philadelphia's 3-1 victory, allowing just two hits during that span.
"That's the one way to attack our approach is to pitch to quality locations early and often, and (Lee) is a guy that can do that," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I think you saw us respond by trying to go earlier in the count with some swings."
Boston, however, has always seen Phillies scheduled pitcher Kyle Kendrick well.
Kendrick (4-3, 3.29) has an 0-3 record and 10.80 ERA in four career appearances against the Red Sox. In two starts against Boston, the right-hander has surrendered 11 runs in 7 2-3 innings, with opposing hitters batting .412 against him.
He hasn't pitched against Boston since 2010, however.
The Red Sox will also look to benefit from having a red-hot John Lackey (3-4, 2.72) on the mound. The right-hander has gone 13 innings without surrendering an earned run, allowing just three hits and three walks over that period. He matched a season high with eight strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians, surrendering two hits and an unearned run in seven innings of Boston's 8-1 victory on Friday.
"It's been a lot of fun,'' Lackey said. "My arm strength is getting better. Endurance is getting better. Things are going on the right track.''
Lackey will face a familiar foe in Michael Young, whose 33 hits against Lackey are the most of any player the pitcher has faced. Young provided Philadelphia's first run on Tuesday with a home run in the opening frame, his first since April 9 to end an 0 for 22 slump.
Lackey will look to make his mark on the road, where he pitched six innings of one-hit, one-run ball against the Minnesota Twins on May 19. Even with that start in which the only run he allowed was unearned, Lackey still has a 4.58 ERA on the road, compared to a 0.90 ERA at Fenway Park.
Surprisingly, Lackey has pitched better against lefties than righties this season, holding left-handers to a .211 average. He has had similar success against a pair of Philadelphia left-handers, striking out right fielder Laynce Nix nine times in 20 at-bats and first baseman Ryan Howard four times in seven at-bats.
While Papelbon - the former Red Sox closer - notched his 10th save in as many opportunities Tuesday and hasn't given up a run since his first appearance on April 3, the Phillies bullpen has a 6.04 ERA in its last 10 games after giving up 37 hits in 29 1-3 innings.
Chad Durbin has a 12.27 ERA over his last seven appearances while recent call-up Michael Stutes surrendered two runs and four hits in 2 1-3 innings against Boston on Monday.