Starting Tuesday of next week, one of the most anticipated series of the 2011 season comes to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Here is how the clubs line up as of June 25: The Philadelphia Phillies have the best record in baseball at 48-29 and the Boston Red Sox rank second and are right on their tail with a record of 44-31.
As far as pitching is concerned, the Phillies rank first in MLB in ERA at 3.06 and quality starts with 51. They are third in WHIP 1.19 and sixth in BAA .242. Also, three of their starting pitchers have over eight wins. Cole Hamels go for a major league-leading 10th win this evening.
The Boston Red Sox pitching staff is having a slightly above average season. They are currently ranked 20th in ERA 3.98, 23rd in quality starts with 38, eighth in WHIP 1.28 and a BAA of .239 which ranks fifth in MLB. Josh Beckett leads the Red Sox pitching staff. His ERA this season is 1.86, which is one of the best ERAs is baseball.
Now for the offense. This is an area that the Philadelphia Phillies must improve if they even want to get to the 2011 World Series. They are getting little to no production from their corner outfielders and find themselves at the bottom of almost every offensive category.
They currently rank 14th in runs scored with 316, rank 20th in BA at .246, 15th in OBP .320 and 22nd in SLG at a weak .375. If the Phillies wish to compete with the Red Sox, one or two runs a game will simply not cut it.
What team will win this series?
Boston ranks first in almost every single offensive category in all of MLB. They are currently first in runs (401), BA (.279), OBP (.353), total bases (1,178), RBI (378), OPS (.801) and SLG (.448). There isn't more I can really say. This team is the best offense in baseball by a long shot.
This series will be the classic big arms vs big bats. Tune in starting next Tuesday, June 28 to find out if great pitching can beat great hitting.
Here are the predicted starting pitchers for each game:
Tuesday: Josh Becket vs Cliff Lee
Wednesday: John Lackey vs Vance Worley
Thursday: Jon Lester vs Cole Hamels
With the Phillies off day Monday, the starters for the second two games could be changed with the recent injury to Roy Oswalt. Spot starter Kyle Kendrick could be thrown into one of those games.
Look for these three games to be as exciting as any regular season game this season. It will be a playoff like atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park. Don't miss out.
ESPN 2 will be broadcasting the Wednesday night game starting at 7:05 EST.