If they do reconvene beginning on Oct. 19, though, they'll have reached that juncture after traveling very different paths last offseason.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein committed a total of $296 million to add a pair of hitters, signing free agent Carl Crawford and trading for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and then signing him to an extension.
The Phillies, of course, continued to stockpile pitching by adding free-agent lefthander Cliff Lee to a rotation that already had Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.
The Phillies had a choice. They could have spent the money they gave Lee to keep rightfielder Jayson Werth or pick up another bat.
The Red Sox' situation was different. They had a pair of young starters they really liked, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. They had signed free agent John Lackey to a 5-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract before the 2010 season and given Josh Beckett a 4-year, $68 million extension that kicked in this year. And Daisuke Matsuzaka was still owed $20 million over the next 2 years.
They also were looking to replace the production of third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Victor Martinez.
"We felt like we had made some investments in our starting rotation the year before with Lackey and the Beckett extension, on top of the emergence of Lester and Buchholz," assistant general manager Ben Cherington said last weekend at PNC Park, where the Red Sox lost two of three to the Pirates. "So when we went into this offseason, we knew we were going to have to replace some offense.
"As we looked at who the best possible fits were we, we had always been enamored of Adrian as a fit in our lineup and our ballpark and complementing the middle of our lineup. And then with Crawford, obviously we'd seen him for 8 years [with Tampa Bay] and he'd beaten us a lot of times.
"Our focus was to be aggressive and improve. Improve our lineup and try to get younger and more dynamic, which we thought we did, knowing that we'd made some investments in our pitching staff the year before and felt really good about where Lester and Buchholz had gotten."
That doesn't mean, Terry Francona was quick to point out, that the Red Sox thought they could simply outslug everybody this season.
"I think we agree with the pitching part," the manager said. "We realize that if you don't pitch, you're in trouble. But we had pitching. We couldn't go get a pitcher. That was why, so I think Theo just tried to get whatever would impact us the best. But I agree with the pitching part, too. I love what the Phillies have done."
The funny thing is that, even though both teams are having successful seasons, neither approach has worked out as well as the Red Sox or Phillies might have hoped. Boston's starting pitching has been a real concern. Ditto Philadelphia's offense.
The Sawx lead the majors in scoring, but the rotation is being held together with duct tape. Dice-K had a 5.30 ERA before going on the disabled list with a right elbow strain. Buchholz has pitched well but is on the DL with a lower-back strain. Lackey isn't hurt, so there's no mitigating explanation for his 7.36 ERA.
The Phillies, as everybody in these parts well knows, have struggled to score runs all season long. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who was counting on bounce-back seasons from some of his stars, isn't second-guessing himself.
"We just felt that getting an impact pitcher was more important than getting an impact hitter," he said. "We just felt like with what happened to us last year [in the NLCS against San Francisco], that I still believe that pitching wins championships when you get right down to it. And that investing in pitching - top-level pitching - was important for us."
It's similar to what the defending division champion Braves did before the 1993 season, adding Greg Maddux to a rotation that already included John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery and Charlie Leibrandt.
It's kind of interesting that Amaro and Cherington had different takes on reacting to the recent swing toward pitching dominance across baseball.
Amaro: "I think a little bit of that went into it. You start to see some of the trends in baseball. Obviously with [performance-enhancing drugs] by and large out of the game, you see a difference in run production. I thought you saw a little bit more of an adjustment back to what pure baseball is all about: pitching, speed and defense with occasional power. And I think, by and large, that's what's happened.
"There's still power. But it's been kind of a flip, you know? Ten years ago, we couldn't get what we felt were 12 major league pitchers on the staff. And now you're looking at a totally different deal. There are a lot of very good pitchers out there. Long guys, middle guys, setup guys. Some of these guys can pitch in different roles and you see ERAs that are [lower] now. It's an adjustment back to what the game was prior to some of these PEDs getting into the game."
Cherington: "It was really more about building the best, most balanced team we could. Our best teams, certainly in '04 and '07 and even 2008, which we felt was a very good team that fell short, those teams were really balanced. In earlier years, we were known for having prolific offenses, [but] our best teams have been balanced teams. So as far as reacting to the league, I think this offseason was more about trying to get back to being the most balanced team that we could."
The cliché is that good pitching beats good hitting in the postseason. Asked how he thought the Phillies would match up against a powerful lineup like the Red Sox' or Yankees' in October, considering his own team's offensive problems, Charlie Manuel chuckled.
"I think we measure up good if our pitchers pitch like hell. If we're seeing a better offense, that's where our pitching would have to shine," the manager said.
What happens the next three nights won't impact what happens 3 1/2 months from now, assuming these teams happen to reach the finals. If they do, though, they will arrive having come from opposite directions.