- The first matchup against former closer Cinco Ocho (Jonathan Papelbon). Which one will show up, Papelbon or his alter ego? With some of the interviews that he's done this week it appears that we'll see Cinco Ocho. Look for some stellar quotes from him this weekend. I hope at least two of these games come down to the wire so that he can pitch. I would love to see him blow a couple of saves this weekend against the Sox. I don't necessarily wish for him to do poorly all year, I just don't want him to get the best of his former team.
- How will Bobby V juggle the lineup without the benefit of the DH? He has said that each player (Ortiz and Gonzalez) will get at least on game at 1B. The organizational approach of the past would have each player getting one day off, one day at first base and one day with Ortiz at 1B and Gonzalez in RF. I would like to see the team be a little more aggressive than that and start both of them in all 3 games. You could get by with bad defense for at least the first 6 innings of the game. Then you can pinch run for Ortiz with an outfielder and slide Gonzalez back to 1B later in the game. If you can get 2-3 at bats out of Ortiz and then make the switch for defense late in the game with a lead it would be ideal. It's certainly going to be interesting to see what they do. With Hamels on the hill tonight would Nava in LF, Ross in CF and AGon in RF be the worst defensive OF in Red Sox history?
- The Red Sox will miss Doc Halladay, but have to face Hamels and Lee. Tonight's pitching matchup is Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30) vs. Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28). Will Hamels plunk Will Middlebrooks to continue his crusade of vigilanty justice?
- Can the Red Sox continue their winning ways? Let's face it there is a sense of urgency for the Red Sox right now. If they are going to start climbing the standings they need to continue winning games and series. Taking 2 out of 3 or sweeping the Phillies would go a long way in the rehabilitation of this team's confidence.
- When is Kevin Youkilis going to come back? He is playing another game in Pawtucket today, but if that goes well will they call him up on Saturday? Middlebrooks has begun to show signs of decline so the timing to make the move is good. However, the team needs to have as much flexibility as possible playing in a national league ballpark. Calling up Youk and having him at less than 100% would not be helpful, so I think they wait until Monday to make the move. Of course Mr. Double Play Mauro Gomez isn't giving them much flexibility either so maybe they call up Youk as soon as he's ready and send Gomez down. Then platoon Youk and Middlebrooks for a few days before sending Middlebrooks down to play every day at some point next week. Again, it will be interesting to see what they do with this situation.
A lot to talk about this weekend. Feel free to leave comments here and keep checking back here for updates throughout this afternoon.