Red Sox Experience Interleague Play for First Time This Season
With the Astros moving to the American League this season Interleague Play is now throughout the season. The season began with the Angels visiting the Reds. I for one like the idea of Interleague Play throughout the season but understand it isn’t beneficial to all teams. The Red Sox are one of few teams to have just experienced interleague games for the first time during the “rivalry week.” The Phillies have been predetermined as their rival with many of the other interleague rivals interstate like New York and California. This week teams play two, two game series against their rival home and away. Which means David Ortiz will pull out his mitt to play first base again for most likely one of those games.
With Monday’s 9-3 win against the Phillies Alfredo Aceves kind of stuck it to the Red Sox for keeping him in Pawtucket. Maybe the Phillies offense is not what it once was but he had a good outing. I thought Aceves had pitched his last game for the Sox in that terrible start against Oakland. With the start against the Phillies maybe other teams will take notice of Aceves. He was sent down after the game to make room for Franklin Morales, who is off the disabled list for the first time this season.
Last night Cliff Lee dominated the Sox with eight masterful innings with no walks and eight strikeouts in a 3-1 Phillies win. Lee has always been a pitcher with great control and he showed it once again. He had 0-2 counts on eight Red Sox hitters. Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon came on for the save in the ninth and got a mix of boos and cheers. Ortiz for one said he had a hard time looking a Papelbon on the mound. The rumors linked to the Red Sox wanting Papelbon back to reclaim his closer role could be true. Papelbon did say he could picture playing for the Red Sox again. With interleague play you do get to see players you don’t usually see and former players who leave your favorite team. In year’s past it was 18 games of interleague but this year it only adds on two extra games.
The Red Sox will also be matched up with San Diego, Arizona and Colorado at home, while playing on the road against Colorado, San Fransisco and Los Angeles. This means the Red Sox will get to face the old friends on the Dodgers from the money dump trade last season. Maybe Josh Beckett will be pitching and Ortiz can take him deep.
Interleague play I believe is good for baseball. Twenty games is not too overwhelming where they play only two additional games to years past. The only problem I see is American League teams in a pennant race playing in National League Parks where they won’t have a designated hitter. The Red Sox do play two games in Colorado in late September as the second to last series of the season. With David Ortiz or Mike Napoli having to sit that may pull away from a chance to win those two games. Maybe the Red Sox won have to be in that position if they can get out to a lead in the division but the American League East looks to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball.