After European vacation, Phillies set to face Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox face a tall task as they look to bounce back from a disappointing trip to Chicago, facing the National League-leading Philadelphia Phillies at home for the first time since 2021 in a three-game series beginning Tuesday.

The Red Sox enter the series with a .500 record, following a split in a four-game series against the lowly White Sox.

Upcoming series against two of the best teams in baseball will be telling for Boston manager Alex Cora. The first clash of the season with the American League East rival New York Yankees awaits after the series with Philadelphia.

“The Phillies are really good. They’re playing with this chip on their shoulder,” Cora said. “What happened to them (last year) in the playoffs, I bet it’s pushing them to actually play better early in the season.”

The Phillies saw their 2023 season come to an end in a seven-game National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Boston’s weekend at Chicago ended with a 6-4 victory in 10 innings Sunday.

The Red Sox’s David Hamilton hit his first home run since May 17, and Jamie Westbrook delivered his first career game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly. Westbrook’s moment came one week after he was recalled from Triple-A Worcester after 1,159 minor league games.

Westbrook also hit his first career homer during the series.

“I waited all that time, and that excitement and weight off my shoulders, it’s just pretty cool, man. It really is,” Westbrook said. “I think I waited so long to get here, so all the firsts, let’s just get it out of the way quick and settle in.”

Making his first career start against Philadelphia, Boston’s Kutter Crawford (2-5, 3.51 ERA) will look for his first win since May 1. He has worked six innings in back-to-back starts, including last Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves when he allowed six runs (four earned).

Philadelphia returns stateside following a two-game split of the MLB London Series against the New York Mets. The Phillies fell 6-5 in Sunday’s game as Nick Castellanos dribbled into a game-ending 2-3 double play with the bases loaded.

It still was a positive trip for the Phillies, who have won seven of their last nine games

“It was a great experience, being able to come over to Europe and play two baseball games,” Castellanos said. “Ideally, you want to win them both. We came away with a split. Now it’s go back and get ready for the Red Sox.”

David Dahl, who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley last week, hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning Sunday before the Mets scored twice in the ninth. It was his second home run in three games.

“Stuff can happen quickly,” Dahl said. “If you would’ve asked me a week ago if I’d be here, I would have probably laughed at you.”

After the matchup against Boston, Philadelphia has another three-game series with an AL East foe in the Baltimore Orioles. Phillies manager Rob Thomson knew the challenge ahead before heading to London.

“It’s going to be tiring, and it’s going to be tiring coming back. But we’re going to have to deal with it and keep playing,” Thomson said. “They’re not going to cancel games for us or suspend games for us.”

Zack Wheeler (7-3, 2.23) is scheduled to take the mound for the Phillies on Tuesday. He is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two career starts against the Red Sox.

Wheeler hasn’t lost since an 0-3 start, going 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA over his last nine outings, including a win last week when he gave up one run over seven innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.

–Field Level Media