Bobby Valentine and Charlie Manuel had their work cut out for them after the first few weeks of the season, and both rose to the challenge.
Manuel's Phillies have won five in a row to climb back above .500 on the year while the Red Sox have won six of their last seven to steady themselves after stumbling through the early part of May.
In both cities, Boston and Philadelphia, expectations remain high for the two big-budget teams, which entered the year with their sights set on contending for — if not winning — a championship. Anything less will likely be considered a failure, or a disappointment at best.
While Valentine and the Sox have the tall task of navigating the tricky waters of the American League East, Manuel's Phillies don't have it much easier in their National League counterpart. Both teams have needed to deal with injuries — Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Howard are two of the biggest names missing from the lineups this series — but neither can afford to make any excuses.