Red Sox pitching, of course, refers to just two men:
Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield.
Remember how both those guys dominated the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park three weeks ago over a span of 18 hours?
Well, both righthanders will be out to repeat their wizardry of the Phillies this weekend, while the Phillies will be given a shot at redemption, a chance for revenge.
Daisuke pitches this Saturday against Joe Blanton (4 p.m., FOX), Wakefield will be opposed by Cole Hamels on Sunday (1:30 p.m., TBS).
Dice-K and Wake Did it Once…
If the Phillies were actually capable of beating the Red Sox in a three-game series since the days of Veterans Stadium astroturf, then their meeting in Philly last month was the absolute perfect time.
Everything was lined up just right from for them, especially when considering the pitching matchups.
The Phils wouldn’t be facing Boston’s two best starters (Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz) while the Sox would be facing the Phillies’ two best (Roy Halladay and Hamels).
After Hamels dazzled the Sox lineup and the Phillies made Boston’s John Lackey sweat out 107 pitches in five innings for an eventual 5-1 win in the Friday night series opener, Philadelphia seemed poised to take the series.
After all, Boston’s starting pitchers in Games Two and Three, Matsuzaka and Wakefield, entered the weekend with a combined two wins in 10 starts and a 6.21 ERA during 2010.
Teams were teeing off against these guys all season, but the Phillies wound up barely settling for singles. Dice-K and Wake combined to shut out the Phils on six hits in 16 total innings.
The Phillies offensive woes actually began before Boston even came to town, three days earlier on May 18 when Pittsburgh's highly ineffective Zach Duke beat them, 2-1. But Dice-K’s dominance on May 22 marked the first of 12 straight games that the Phillies failed to generate more than three runs.
Can They Do it Again?
No. It’s unrealistic to expect the Phillies to be shut out by both pitchers…again.
Dice-K and Wake aren't that good…then again neither is the Phillies offense right now.
These two guys haven’t exactly been the American League equivalents of Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Johnson so far in 2010.
Still, Matsuzaka has pitched well since one-hitting the Phils. He’s 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts, highlighted by eight shutout innings against the lowly Indians in his most recent start.
Of course, Dice-K has the propensity to be very wild. On May 27, against Kansas City, Matsuzaka threw 112 pitched and walked EIGHT in just 4.2 innings. The Phillies, who have slipped to 10th in the NL in total walks, will need to be patient.
Wakefield is 1-2 with an 8.47 ERA in his three starts since facing the Phils. He suffered through two horrific outings against the Royals and A’s before pitching 7.2 innings and allowing just one earned run in his last start in Cleveland.
Over the last month, Philly has had a knack for making ordinary pitchers look like Cy Youngs. But surely the Phils will do much better in their second encounter with these guys. They have to, right?
Then again, considering how the Phils offense has looked since the last time they faced the guys from Beantown, maybe we shouldn’t be expecting too much.
Oh, by the way, the Phillies are 5-16 against Boston since 2004, so some long-awaited payback is very much overdue.