Published May 18, 2012
| Sports Network
The Phillies would love for closer Jonathan Papelbon to appear in all three games of their weekend series with the Red Sox, which starts tonight in Philadelphia.
That likely means that the club was in position to win all three encounters.
Cole Hamels gets the call for Friday's opener against Papelbon's former teammates, with the Phillies left-hander looking to win a sixth straight decision and remain undefeated against Boston.
Hamels hasn't lost since his first outing of the season on April 9 and has won his past two starts. His outing on Sunday versus the Padres was his first since getting a five-game suspension for admitting to intentionally hitting the Nationals' Bryce Harper in a win on May 6, but the extra time off did not appear to impact Hamels.
The 28-year-old held San Diego to a run on five hits and three walks over seven innings of a 3-2 win, moving him to 5-1 with a 2.28 earned run average in seven starts this season.
"He's doing good. They worked him pretty good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of his ace.
Hamels has faced the Red Sox four times prior and is 3-0 against them with a 1.44 ERA. Still, it might not hurt to ask Papelbon for some advice given his familiarity with the franchise.
Papelbon spent his first seven seasons with the Red Sox and posted at least 31 saves in each of his six years as their closer. He logged 219 saves during his tenure with Boston and also saved three games in the 2007 World Series, which the Red Sox swept over the Rockies. Papelbon recorded the final out, striking out a pinch-hitting Seth Smith.
Papelbon joined the Phillies as a free agent this past offseason, signing a four-year, $50 million deal. He has logged 11 saves in 11 changes so far with Philadelphia, posting an 0-1 record and 2.35 ERA in 16 games.
It will be up to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine if Papelbon could face David Ortiz. Boston will lose its designated hitter spot since it is playing in Philadelphia, though Ortiz did play some first base last year against the National League, while Adrian Gonzalez moved from first to right field.
"I think he's fine; I think David could play first base and Adrian looks all right in the outfield, too," Valentine told Boston's website. "I think David could play first base, so does Dustin [Pedroia], so does Adrian and so does David -- and that's what's more important."
The Red Sox are 15-11 on the road against Philadelphia in interleague play, losing two of three at Citizens Bank Park in 2011. Boston went 10-8 versus the NL last year, while Philadelphia was 10-8 in interleague play.
Right-hander Daniel Bard will make his first career start against the Phillies, though he has faced them four times in relief. He has allowed four runs over 3 2/3 innings over that time while notching a save.
The Boston right-hander had allowed nine runs over back-to-back losses before beating the Indians on Sunday. Bard, 26, hurled six innings of one-run ball, yielding six hits and four walks -- including three in one inning -- while getting plenty of support in a 12-1 win.
After having a five-game win streak snapped on Wednesday, the Red Sox rebounded to knock off the Rays 5-3 yesterday. Cody Ross hit a solo homer and drove in four runs, while Marlon Byrd also went deep.
Felix Doubront earned the win, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked four. Alfredo Aceves recorded the game's final four outs to pick up his eighth save of the season.
The Phillies also come in on a winning run, having posted a season-high five straight victories. They extended that streak with an 8-7 win last night over the Cubs, holding off a late rally.
Carlos Ruiz had four hits and drove in three runs to pace the offense.
"He's staying strong on his backside, he just goes with the pitches, strokes the ball," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of his hot-hitting catcher. "If you watch him, he just hits line drives. That's good."
Hunter Pence had two RBI and scored twice, Jimmy Rollins crossed the plate three times, and Roy Halladay, who earned his first win in over a month, also had two hits and scored twice while throwing eight innings of three-run ball.
However, the Cubs scored four times in the ninth to get within one, but Papelbon got Reed Johnson to ground out, ending the game and giving him the save.
Philadelphia will play this opener without Manuel, who was suspended for a game on Friday in the wake of his argument with umpire Bob Davidson during Tuesday's game with Houston.
Manuel was upset after Houston's Jason Castro reached on a third-strike wild pitch when it appeared that Davidson impeded catcher Brian Schneider's path to the ball.
Manuel disputed the issue from the dugout and Davidson threw him out of the contest. The Phils' skipper then continued the argument on the field, nearly nose-to-nose with the veteran umpire, and the bill of Manuel's cap appeared to contact Davidson's forehead.
Davidson was also suspended for a game.