Jonathan Papelbon, who signed a $50 million four-year contract with Philadelphia this past off-season after becoming a household name in the Boston organization, expects to see action against his former team for the very first time this weekend. The Phillies (20-19) will host the Red Sox (18-20) for a three-game series beginning Friday night at Citizens Bank Park to kick off 2012 inter-league play.
Papelbon has transitioned easily into the National League, where he has successfully converted all 11 save opportunities with the Phils this season. In his regular season career, Papelbon has converted 88.8% of his save chances.
Boston and Philadelphia are perennial favorites for playoff spots each season, but both have run into difficult times in the early going, this season, as they have been plagued with injuries to injured stars like Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and others. Both teams are in last place in their respective divisions.
In the opener of the series, the Red Sox will send right-hander Daniel Bard, who is 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in his last 4 starts, to the mound. The Phillies will counter with standout lefty Cole Hamels, who has had tremendous success against Boston, with a 3-0 record and a 1.44 ERA and a .191 batting average against in 4 career starts.
Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and other statistical information for this series.
Friday, 7:05 PM. Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28 ERA). In 4 career relief appearances against the Phillies, Bard has a 9.82 ERA. In 4 road games (3 starts) this season, Bard has posted a 2-2 record with a 5.49 ERA. Bard has a 5.76 ERA in 5 night games this season. Hamels has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.79 ERA in 3 home starts this year. In his last 6 starts, Hamels is 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA. Adrian Gonzalez is 8-for-24 (.333 avg) with 2 HR in his career against Hamels.
Saturday, 7:15 PM. Jon Lester (2-3, 3.71 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (4-3, 2.96 ERA). Lester is 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA in 3 career starts against the Phillies. In 5 road starts this season, the left-handed Lester has posted a 1-2 record with a 2.65 ERA. Ty Wigginton is 8-for-20 (.400 avg) with a double and a homer against Lester. In 10 career starts against the Red Sox, Blanton has posted a 3-3 record with with a 4.70 ERA. Blanton is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 4 home starts this year. Blanton has not lost at Citizens Bank Park in over a year. Adrian Gonzalez is 7-for-16 (.438 avg) with 2 HR in his career against Blanton.
Sunday, 1:35 PM. Josh Beckett (3-4, 4.97 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (0-1, 1.95 ERA). In 11 career starts against Boston, Lee has a 3-4 record with a 3.56 ERA. Lee is 14-6 with a 2.16 ERA in 26 career regular season starts at Citizens Bank Park. In 20 career games against the Phillies, Beckett has an 8-5 record with a 4.18 ERA. Brian Schneider is 4-for-30 (.133 avg) in his career against Beckett.
Boston reliever Vicente Padilla has a 5.05 ERA in 27 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park. Padilla was an All-Star for Philadelphia in 2002.
In 28 career games against the Phillies, David Ortiz has a .301 batting average with 5 HR and 21 RBI. Ortiz's .345 batting average is 4th best in the American League.
Former Phillie Marlon Byrd is a .238 hitter in 29 career games against Philadelphia. Byrd has a .205 batting average in 62 career games at Citizens Bank Park.
In 14 career appearances at Citizens Bank Park, Jonathan Papelbon has posted a 0-1 record with 8 saves and a 2.63 ERA.
In 15 May games, Carlos Ruiz is 21-for-49 (.429 avg) with 4 doubles, 4 HR and 17 RBI. Ruiz has a .109 career batting average in 15 games against Boston.
Ty Wigginton is a career .275 hitter with 13 HR and 32 RBI in 57 games against the Red Sox. Wigginton is batting .158 with no extra base hits in 15 May games.
Hunter Pence has a .391/.444/.565 line in 6 career games against Boston. Pence is batting .236 in 18 home games this season.
Boston team batting average- .273
Phillies team batting average- .263
You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE.
Also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE.