Let me start off by saying I am not a fan of inter league play, watching the Mariners battle the Marlins just doesn’t do it for me, but that’s an argument for a different day. With that being said, every rule has an exception and the upcoming series between the Sox and Phils at Citizens Bank Park is as good as it gets.
The Red Sox and Phillies made the biggest splashes during the offseason, resulting in many experts predicting a date between these two clubs in this year’s Fall Classic. The performances of each team has matched expectations, with the Red Sox and Phillies owning two of the top three records in baseball. Now the Hot Stove champions of each league have set themselves up for an exciting three game series that features a couple of great pitching match ups. This series will tell us nothing about a potential match up in October, but it is better than watching the Padres or Pirates and I am going to enjoy it.
Beckett v Lee
I’m still not conviced Beckett’s illness was not exaggerated a little to set up this matchup of Aces. The Prick has been spectacular the first half of the season, and is arguably the second best pitcher in the American League with the numbers to prove it (Verlander is obviously the best, I feel like he’s thrown like 6 no hitters this year). Beckett is 6-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 14 starts this season striking out 79 batters in 92 IP. On the other side, Cliff Lee started off slow but has demolished the month of June going 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in his last 5 starts. Personally, this is the most exciting match up this season to date and I can’t watch these two studs go head to head.
Lackey v Worley
Not much to report here, on paper you would think John Lackey and Worley should probably trade paychecks. Vance Worley has been decent for the Phils this year, 2-1 2.83 ERA in 6 starts, but I think it is safe to say this Red Sox lineup will be the toughest he has faced this season. Lackey and I do not have the best relationship right now so it is 50/50 whether I even watch this game. Let’s hope the offense can wake up and hang double digits on this kid to give Lackey a shot at the W.
Lester v Hamels
This matchup is almost good as Tuesday’s showdown, featuring two of the best young lefties in the game. Both Lester and Hamels are #1 caliber starters (Hamels is #3 behind Halladay and Lee) and have had good starts to the 2011 campaign. Lester continues to be Lester, just gassing people (100 Ks), racking up wins (9-4), and giving his team a chance to win every time out. Hamels on the other hand has arguably the best stats of any of the Phillies’s starters, he has been nasty posting 9-4 record with a 2.49 ERA to go along with 108 Ks during the first part of season. Unlike steady Lester, after a down year in 2009 Hamels has been trying to get back to the pitcher that won the MVP of the both the NLCS and World Series in 2008 and so far this year he looks to be that guy. Two great southpaws to close out an exciting inter league match up, enjoy it.