The Boston Red Sox (18-20) and Philadelphia Phillies (20-19) will open up a three-game interleague series on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET
Boston Red Sox at Philadelphia Phillies
Boston has won six of its last seven games, and comes off a 5-3 road victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night. The Red Sox are now an even 9-9 on the road, as the bullpen continues to come up big after a shaky start to the 2012 MLB season. The club’s relievers have allowed just a single run over the last 14.1 innings, as they came into the previous game leading the majors with a 1.32 ERA since April 23. Boston holds a 27-19 all-time edge in this interleague series, but dropped two of three inside this ball park a year ago.
Red Sox starting pitcher Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30 ERA) is coming off a 12-1 home win over the Cleveland Browns, allowing just one run and six hits over six frames. The right-hander has compiled an even 2-2 record and 5.49 ERA in four home appearances (three starts), as opponents are hitting .260 against him. In four career relief appearances against the Phillies, Bard has yet to record a decision, giving up four runs and two hits over 3.2 frames (9.82 ERA).
Philadelphia has finally climbed above the .500 mark for the first time since Opening Day, picking up an 8-7 road victory over the Chicago Cubs last night. The Phillies continue to get major production out of catcher Carlos Ruiz offensively, as he ranks third in the National League with a .363 batting average. Over the previous 22 games, the club’s offense has managed to hit .276, while leading all NL teams in hits and ranking second in batting average since April 23. Philadelphia is 9-9 at home this season and the “over” is 9-8 in that situation.
Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28 ERA) has led the club to six consecutive wins since suffering a 6-2 home loss in his season debut, including a 3-2 home win over the San Diego Padres last time out. The left-hander allowed just one run and five hits over seven strong innings in that effort. In four career games versus the Red Sox, Hamels has registered a perfect 3-0 record and 1.44 ERA, as opposing hitter have managed to hit just .191 against him.
Bettors will likely back the Phillies due to their 5-0 record versus right-handed starters, while the Red Sox are 3-7 in their last 10 games as a road underdog.
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies -154
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