The Boston Red Sox are banking on a brief return home to snap their eight-game losing streak as they host the Philadelphia Phillies for a two-game interleague series beginning Tuesday.
The Red Sox enter having been swept in four games by the Yankees in New York. Following a 6-3 defeat Monday night, Boston has been outscored 73-35 during its skid, which started with four consecutive losses to the Tampa Bay Rays in Boston last week.
Now it’s back to Fenway Park for the American League-worst Red Sox for two games before a seven-game road trip to oppose Baltimore and Toronto (in Buffalo). Boston will start right-hander Zack Godley (0-2, 8.16 ERA) in Tuesday’s matchup.
The Phillies come to Boston having had Monday off after sweeping the New York Mets at home over the weekend. Following the two-game stint, Philadelphia, which has played only one true road game this season, will continue a 10-game trip to face Toronto (in Buffalo), Atlanta and Washington.
Right-hander Zach Eflin (0-1, 3.60 ERA) gets the nod for the Phillies on Tuesday night.
An interleague series should be welcome for the Red Sox, who haven’t had a losing record against the National League in a season since 2014. Further, Boston has beat up on Philadelphia in recent years, with wins in 13 of the past 19 meetings.
But this is a different Red Sox club with an obvious weakness: pitching. The team’s 6.06 ERA is the worst in the majors, and the starters often run into trouble early to put the offense in a hole it can’t dig out of.
“I think we’re all frustrated,” said left-hander Martin Perez, who went just three innings in a rain-shortened start Monday. “We’re just trying to find a way to start winning. That’s all we need.”
Boston will be looking for length out of Godley, who followed up four scoreless innings in his second start of the season Aug. 8 with an eight-run, three-plus-inning disaster against the Rays the last time out. Godley is 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA in four games (two starts) against the Phillies.
Philadelphia has similarly endured its struggles in the pitching department this season (5.46 team ERA; National League-worst 8.77 in the bullpen), but it didn’t show over the last two games of its sweep of the Mets. The Phillies won both contests 6-2, putting themselves in position to even their record at .500 with a victory Tuesday.
“I think our starting pitching has been really good,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said. “I think the fight in our offense and the ability to come back has been really good. And it seemed like we had some sense of finding where guys worked in the bullpen, which I’m really encouraged about. You need everyone to contribute, but everyone kind of did their job this weekend.”
Eflin takes the mound having given up four runs on seven hits over six innings in his last start, a 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He did, however, strike out a career-high 10 batters. Eflin will face Boston for the first time.
The Red Sox and Phillies match up as their NBA counterparts, the Celtics and 76ers, respectively, meet in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics won the first game of their seven-game series Monday.
–Field Level Media