The Phillies haven't had a three-game winning streak over the Red Sox since 2000. They haven't won a season series of more than three games with Boston since 1998. Tonight, they can erase that ugly recent history.
The Phils catch another break with the Red Sox pushing Jon Lester back to Friday. Lester is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his dominant starts vs. the Phillies, while spot starter Franklin Morales hasn't even pitched in the majors this season.
Morales is a high-strikeout, high-walk reliever who has made 24 starts in his career. You probably remember him from Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS, as well as the Division Series in 2009 with the Rockies.
Lefties have a .116 lifetime batting average off Morales' curveball and changeup. He likes to start them with his slow hook. He also sports a mid-90s fastball.
Jon Pettibone (3-0, 3.21) goes for the Phillies in what is likely to be his toughest task to date. Opponents are hitting .330 off Pettibone with the bases empty, but just .206 with men on and .205 with runners in scoring position.
The Red Sox are a patient and powerful team that will make Pettibone throw strikes in jams. They won't help him out. It will be up to him to command his fastball.
No Red Sox pitcher has been able to command his fastball against Domonic Brown, who has four homers in three games vs. Boston this week. Brown has had a truly historic month. Here's why:
• He's the fourth Phillie ever to have a double-digit home run month at 25 or younger. The others? Ryan Howard, Mike Schmidt, Chuck Klein.
• He's 25 and entered the season with fewer than 500 PAs in the majors. Since 2000, only four NL players who matched those criteria had a double-digit HR month: Howard, Ryan Braun and Adam Dunn.
• This one is less impressive, but if Brown doesn't walk Thursday or Friday he would become the first player in the history of baseball to hit 10+ homers in a month without walking. The previous low walk total for a player with 10+ homers in a month is shared by Ty Wigginton (2008) and George Bell (1987), who each had one.
Huge game tonight. After Thursday, the Phils play 13 straight games against last-place teams (Brewers, Marlins, Brewers, Twins).
Ryan Howard gets the night off.
1) Ben Revere
2) Cesar Hernandez (first MLB start)
3) Jimmy Rollins, SS
4) Delmon Young, RF
5) Domonic Brown, LF
6) Kevin Frandsen, 1B (hitting .413 in 80 ABs vs. LHP as a Phillie)
7) Erik Kratz, C (.310/.423/.595, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 9 BB, 8 K last 14 games)
8) Freddy Galvis, 3B
9) Jon Pettibone, P
Red Sox lineup
1) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2) Daniel Nava, RF
3) Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4) David Ortiz, 1B
5) Mike Carp, LF
6) Stephen Drew, SS
7) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8) Jose Iglesias, 3B
9) Franklin Morales, P