Following one of the season's ugliest losses, the Phillies begin the week in Boston for a two-game series with the Red Sox. After that, they'll come home to face the Sox for two more. Tonight's game is the most winnable one.
Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 2.70) opposes Alfredo Aceves (1-1, 8.20), who is making a spot start for Clay Buchholz. Buchholz was scratched with a sore collarbone.
Aceves has been atrocious for two seasons now -- he's 3-11 with eight blown savs, a 5.87 ERA and 1.5 HR/9 since the start of 2012. Opponents are hitting .325/.409/.613 off him this year, meaning he's essentially turned every hitter into Ryan Braun.
Cloyd has been way better on the road than at home early in his big-league career, but this is his toughest test to date. He's never faced an AL team, and Boston has the most pronounced advantage of any AL team in an interleague series because of David Ortiz.
Ortiz has the Red Sox leading all teams in batting average, OBP, slugging, homers, doubles, runs and RBIs from the DH spot. He's hitting .341 with a 1.019 OPS, and has driven in 34 runs in 32 games.
A key in this series will be keeping Jacoby Ellsbury off base as much as possible. When he reaches base twice in a game, Boston is 14-7 and averages 5.5 runs. When he doesn't, the Red Sox score 3.2 runs per game. Major difference.
The Phillies will need to get something, anything out of Michael Young and Ryan Howard if they want to win a few games this week.
Young is hitting .175 since April 30 and his batting average has fallen from .352 to .268.
Howard has hit .192 over the last three weeks with no homers and 19 strikeouts in 52 at-bats. He has the highest AAV of any first baseman ($25 million) but ranks 14th or lower among 20 qualified 1B in BA, OBP, RBIs, walks and strikeouts. He's 10th in homers and 12th in slugging.
Since May 8, the Phillies' 3-4 batters rank dead last in the majors in batting average (.192), OPS (.540) and RBIs (8).
1) Ben Revere, CF
2) Michael Young, 3B
3) Jimmy Rollins, SS (batting 3rd for second time this season)
4) Ryan Howard, 1B
5) Delmon Young, DH
6) Domonic Brown, LF
7) John Mayberry, RF
8) Freddy Galvis, 2B
9) Erik Kratz, C
Red Sox lineup
1) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2) Daniel Nava, RF
3) Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4) David Ortiz, DH
5) Mike Napoli, 1B
6) Stephen Drew, SS
7) Mike Carp, LF
8) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9) Jose Iglesias, 3B