Phils, Red Sox Could Put On An Offensive Show

You have to figure there is at least a little bit of crow on the menu in Philly this weekend as former Phils manager Terry Francona and his World Series ring return to town. Odds are though that the real focus will soon shift to the field and the potential offensive display that the two teams will engage in this weekend.

Let's start with the good news from the Phillies' standpoint: When they face the defending World Series champion Red Sox this weekend they won't have to go against Curt Schilling. Schilling remains a few weeks away from returning to the mound, so it's a relief to the Phils that they won't see a guy who always seems to be geared up to stick it to his former team.

With no Schilling on the docket, eyes should turn to the offenses. And in the cozy confines of Citizens Bank Park, these two teams are liable to flip the scoreboard like an old-school pinball machine scorer.

No team in baseball has scored more runs than the Red Sox. And only the Rockies have a better home batting average than the Phils' .295 mark at CBP.

The Phillies will be venturing into unfamiliar territory Friday when they face knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Despite playing the Red Sox in interleague action regularly, the Phils haven't faced Wakefield in the new millennium. Meanwhile, Jon Lieber will be facing a lineup he got to know all too well last season. Pitching for the Yankees Lieber was 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts against the Sox in the regular season, then pitched against them twice in the ALCS, beating Boston in Game 2 and losing Game 6.

The Phils will be more familiar with Saturday's starter, Matt Clement, whom they faced regularly during his days with the Marlins. On Sunday the Phils will go against a pitcher who nearly became the prominent free-agent addition to the starting rotation instead of Lieber - David Wells.

The Phils are hopeful that Vicente Padilla can return to the rotation Saturday after he was scratched from his start on Tuesday because of a sore neck muscle. However, considering how ineffective Padilla has been this season - he's 3-6, 6.23 ERA in 10 starts and has allowed a whopping 13 HRs in 47 2/3 IP - they might not mind coming up with an alternative plan against Boston. Keep this in mind: Both Brett Myers and Rob Tejeda had their pitch counts kept low in their starts Tuesday and Wednesday, so if the Phils needed them to go on three days' rest this weekend, at least they should be fairly fresh.

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