Phillies on (Fen)way to take on Boston

Phillies on (Fen)way to take on Boston

In the midst of a less-than-stellar stretch of baseball, the Phillies picked the wrong time to visit the Boston Red Sox.

The Phillies -- losers of eight of their last 10 -- meet the red-hot Red Sox, who have won a season-high six games in a row. Philadelphia has fallen to 35-37, 9 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East.

"We definitely need to win some games," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We need to get to the All-Star break over .500."

Unlike with most teams, hitting the road after their nine-game homestand may help the Phillies. Philadelphia is third-worst in the league with an 18-23 home record. But at 17-14, they're one of just five teams in the National League with a winning record on the road.

"Our guys want to do good at home," Manuel said. "They do press a little bit at home."

Manuel will hand the ball to Ryan Madson, who despite his lofty 5.79 ERA, has been a winner on the mound at 7-4. The right-hander has alternated good starts with bad ones in his last five outings -- allowing two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a win his last time out against Tampa Bay.

Josh Beckett takes the mound for Boston, and the Phillies are hoping that their second crack at Beckett goes better than their first.

The right-hander pitched seven innings, allowing three earned runs. Fortunately for the Phillies, with the game being played at an American League park, Beckett won't be able to duplicate his 2-for-4 with a home run at the plate.

Boston took two of three when the teams met at Citizens Bank Park, with the Phillies salvaging the finale against Boston's sixth starter, Lenny DiNardo. No such luck this time for the Phils, who face Beckett, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield.

So the task of getting to the All-Star break above .500 looks to have a difficult beginning.

"Going into the All-Star break with a good record is obviously a goal," Aaron Rowand said. "But to accomplish your goals, you have to have short-term goals."

Pitching matchup
PHI: RHP Ryan Madson (7-4, 5.79 ERA)
The Phillies are 9-2 in games that Madson has started this season.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (8-3, 5.09 ERA)
Beckett has a 2.00 ERA in his eight wins and a 20.48 ERA in his three losses.

Players to watch
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both homered off Beckett in their last meeting.

Interleague by the numbers
All-time Record vs. Red Sox: 13-15.
All-time club Interleague records: 76-84.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WPHT 1210

Up next
• Saturday: Phillies (RHP Brett Myers, 5-3, 3.77 ERA) at Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 9-2, 3.55 ERA), 1:20 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (RHP Cory Lidle, 4-6, 5.00 ERA) at Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 5-8, 3.82 ERA), 2:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day

Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.