Red Sox v. Phillies, 7:05 pm. The Interleague Play Bus keeps on rolling tonight as the Sox swing by Philadelphia for an awkward 3-game series with Terry Francona's ex. While Tito and the Phillies are obsessing over their outfits and practicing their opening spiels in the mirror ("Yeah, you know, things are good, you know? Life's good. Friends are good. Uhhh how 'bout you? You look great by the way..."), the kerfluffle in the Boston sports media is that this series represents a potential world series preview. To which I say, if I may: horseshit.
There's no question that these Phillies are a decent team. With 41 wins, they're actually underperforming their Pythagorean winning percentage by a solid 3 games, and they've got Chase Utley's seemingly unstoppable bat powering a seriously tater-happy offense (their 100 home runs on the season put them at second place just behind the Marlins, and ahead of Boston by 16). Honestly, though, I don't think there's any way the Phillies are headed to the World Series this year. The only team in their division they can beat with any kind of regularity is the Braves, and as I understand it the Braves no longer actually have a single healthy pitcher besides Jair Jurrjejnjsj and are actually starting several adolescent giraffes instead. Moreover, in a season when so many other teams have made big moves and experienced huge returns on a few key investments (or, in the case of Bartolo Colon, key returns on a few HUGE investments. GET IT BECAUSE HE IS FAT), the Phillies are essentially the same team as they were last year. That team, you may recall, won 89 games, placed first in the NL East thanks ONLY to a monumental collapse by a division rival, and got swept by the (goddamn) Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. Granted, that was in a season where not a single NL playoffs team won more than 90 games, but the point is that the Phillies have done nothing this year to put them in the same league as the Cubs, the D-Backs, or even the Marlins besides starting Chase Utley and Cole Hamels on a regular basis. I simply do not see this holding up in the long run. Sorry, Phillies fans, but this team cannot and will not go the distance. Period.
Bold words? Perhaps. It's possible I'm just cranky because I lost my voice due to a combination of beer, cigarettes, and screaming "GUARD THE PERIMETER YOU HAVE TO FUCKING GUARD THE PERIMETER" at the TV in the bar I was at last night. Anyhoodle, this series should make for some decent watching, so tune in tonight as Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27) and Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41) square off at Citizens Bank Park. Amazingly, the spotlight tonight may be on Julio Lugo, who has faced Hamels 3 times in his career and touched him for 2 home runs. Sweet!
Frivolous prop bet of the night: A suddenly sassy Coco Crisp gets into it with long-time jackass Brett Myers; the resultant hail of D batteries, Yuengling bottles, and bitterness due to years of frustrated dreams from the Philadelphia stands blots out the sun for several hours.
Serious prediction of the night: Ah, what the hell. This is LITERALLY the only time you will ever see me predicting something positive where Julio Lugo is concerned, so I'm going to go ahead and bet that he'll have a bang-up offensive night against Cole "Slaw" Hamels. Hell, maybe even a home run. CHERISH THIS MOMENT WHILE IT LASTS YOU BUTTERFINGERED PIECE OF DEAD WEIGHT