The Sox continue inter-league play facing the Phillies and the Phanatic.
Here's my son, Conor, with the Phanatic at a recent Sunday Night Baseball game
1. Good, Better, Best. The Sox continue to struggle against the better teams in baseball, and Philadelphia certainly qualifies. The Philles are the most "American League" team in the NL with a highly potent lineup, including Monster Masher Ryan Howard and arguably the best offensive second baseman in baseball, Chase Utley (no disrespect to Robinson Cano, an AL MVP candidate.
2. Lackey Struggles. In his last three starts (18 innings), Lackey, a control pitcher, has yielded fifteen earned runs (ERA 7.5) and more worrisome, twenty-three hits and twelve walks, with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) approaching two. I don't think anyone is worried about Lackey, but he needs to find his release point to get consistent.
3. Ellsbury Do-boy. Jacoby Ellsbury returns after experiencing multiple rib fractures in a collision with Ivan Beltre, another 'consequence' of lineup shifting with Ellsbury going to left. Healing of rib fractures varies substantially (okay, I've only been a doctor for twenty-nine years), but the potential for reinjury (swinging, sliding, diving, collisions with walls) merited plenty of respect.
4. Macho-Matsu Man. Matsu, Matsu-Man, he toys with the strike zone, 'cause he can. Matsuzaka, the enigmatic one, has brought a live fastball to the road appearance tonight, but it's early to be judging results against the potent Philly lineup. Historically, Daisuke's nibbling and "one bad inning" make watching him the baseball equivalent of Chinese water torture.
5. "Win Prevention". The Sox buzzword for 2010 was "run prevention". The numbers don't lie.
The Sox have an ERA about TWO runs higher than Tampa and have allowed the most runs in the American League. You can't sugar coat it or whitewash it, or use anyone euphemism. It is what it is.