05/22/10 11:17 PM ET
Doc can revive Phils; Red Sox stand in way
By Chris Hempson / MLB.com
In fact, the Red Sox's last memory of him -- on Sept. 30 in Boston -- was of Halladay throwing a shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out six. It was the righty's finest performance of 2009, and one the Red Sox hope won't be repeated on Sunday.
"[Halladay's] got velocity, movement, location," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Probably as good an ability to compete and slow the game down as anyone in the game. He's always one pitch from a double play. His command is probably better than anyone in the game. We've faced him a lot, and we've beat him. It's not easy. He has the ability to make adjustments during the game. He's got a lot of ways to beat you."
According to Francona, when the Red Sox have had success against the 33-year-old, it's been by hitting to the middle of the field. If not, Halladay has a knack for inducing grounders into double plays.
One individual who's strayed from double plays of late has been David Ortiz. The Red Sox lefty hasn't hit into one since May 4 and has begun to turn his season around. In his past eight games, Ortiz has smacked four timely home runs. His turnaround has been a sharp contrast, considering Ortiz batted just .143 for the month of April with one homer.
Red Sox: Digging the long ball
Halladay's former team, the Blue Jays, may be leading the Majors in homers with 74, but the Red Sox have been sizzling with the deep ball of late -- and they now sit at 59 on the season, good for second in the big leagues.
The Red Sox have hit a homer in 16 of their past 22 games, with 35 total home runs since April 30. Boston is just behind Toronto, which sits at 42 entering Sunday.
As usual, two batters have been leading the Red Sox charge -- the aforementioned Ortiz, and Kevin Youkilis. The 31-year-old Youkilis has three home runs in his past six games, while the rejuvenated Ortiz has four in his past eight.
"[It's] a little bit of everything," Francona said of Ortiz. "He's got balance. He's got confidence, driving the ball out of the ballpark both left-center, center, right. He's been good. Unfortunately, two games into the season, we had to answer a lot of questions, which actually gets old. ... But now I think he is getting hot. That's great news for us. It's very welcome. We need that production, and it's going to help us win games."
Phillies: Injuries continue plague hosts
Nine Phillies have missed games due to injury with seven players either having spent time on the disabled list or are currently on it. The latest victim is star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who left Friday night's game, a 5-1 Phillies win, with a mild right calf sprain.
"We want Jimmy," said Juan Castro, Rollins' replacement at shortstop who broke up Saturday's no-hitter with two outs in the eighth in a 5-0 Phillies loss. "Unfortunately for him, he's been having these problems. It's got to be a tough situation for him, and it's also a tough situation for the team."
The Phillies are 21-9 against right-handed starters this season. ... Righty knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will be looking for his first victory of the year when he takes the mound Sunday. ... The Red Sox lead the Major Leagues in extra-inning games, going 1-6 in such contests.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.