Red Sox ready to begin Interleague Play

Red Sox ready to begin Interleague Play

CLEVELAND -- It will be more than two weeks before the Red Sox see an American League opponent again. The end of Thursday night's game -- an 8-7 loss to the Indians -- signified the re-start of Boston's Interleague slate.

Manager Terry Francona's team will see all NL teams only for the next 15 games, starting with a three-game series on Friday night against the Phillies.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins

While preparing for Interleague Play can be challenging, the Red Sox are at least familiar with the Phillies, having played them in a three-game series in Philadelphia May 21-23. The Sox took two out of three in that one.

More than anything, the Red Sox are excited to get back to Fenway. The upcoming nine-game homestand will be against the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

"It's always good to go back home," said Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez. "Definitely."

Unlike the series in Philly, the Red Sox will play under their rules this time, meaning that they have the designated hitter.

"Well, it's baseball," said Martinez. "It's still baseball. We still have to go out there and keep playing the game. It's the same for both teams."

But the Red Sox could have an advantage over the next nine games because they are playing their regular team, while the Phillies have to use one of their bench players as the designated hitter.

"It's different," said Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew. "A lot of people had criticism about Interleague, whether it was good or bad. It's interesting. It's fun to go on the road and watch our pitchers battle, too. It has its ups and its downs. But yeah, it's nice to have our whole team out there. I'm sure David [Ortiz] will like that."

And Drew will like one of the subplots that happens after the Phillies leave town.

"Then I get to play my brother," said Drew.

Yes, Stephen Drew is the shortstop for the Diamondbacks. But the best of all storylines the Red Sox have in this year's Interleague will come on the final leg of the homestand, when Manny Ramirez returns to Boston for the first time since he was traded to the Dodgers on July 31, 2008.

Ramirez, one of the most productive and controversial players in Red Sox history, will generate a lot of emotion when he steps back into the box at Fenway.

Once the Red Sox wrap up the homestand, they go to Denver for the first time since their World Series-clinching victory in 2007. The three-game set against the Rockies takes place from June 22-24. The Red Sox complete their slate against NL foes with three games in San Francisco against the Giants June 25-27.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.