Hello, Phillies. We’ve met before, haven’t we?

World Series Preview: Phillies Starters
Our son returns to the Bronx

Because of the quirks of Interleague Play, the Fall Classic match-ups these days often feature two teams who have played each other during the regular season. Long gone are the days when the only meeting between AL and NL rivals would occur during the World Series.

For the Yankees, 2009 marks their third World Series out of their last five in which they have already seen their opponent in the same season. In 1999, they lost two of three to Atlanta before sweeping them in the World Series. In 2000, the Bombers won four of six against the Mets before taking the Subway Series in five games. Although the Yankees had not played the Phightin’s since 2006, this year, the two teams met for a Yankee Stadium series in late May. The Phillies won two of three, but the Yankees captured a walk-off against Brad Lidge.

So much as I did with the Twins and then the Angels, let’s hop back to May and relive the Yanks’ brief meeting with the Phillies this year.

May 22, 2009: Phillies 7, Yankees 3 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Brett Myers
LP: A.J. Burnett
HR: Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez

This game, I witnessed from the Grandstand at Yankee Stadium, and it was an ugly one. Jimmy Rollins started the game off with a lead-off home run, and A.J. Burnett had absolutely nothing. He would allow three home runs on the night, including Carlos Ruiz’s first long ball of the season. It was vintage ugly Burnett – 6 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 ER – and the Yanks were down 5-0 before they managed to plate a run.

For the Yankees, this game could have been a potential turning point in the season. Chien-Ming Wang, coming back from a sore hip, made his not-so-triumphant return to the mound in the Bronx. He threw three innings but allowed a pair of runs on six hits and a walk. In fact, one of the runs scored on this blast by Ibanez. The ball traveled an estimated 477, and it was the longest long ball at Yankee Stadium this year. Ibanez, however, after that home run, hit just .235/.315/.468 over his final 387 plate appearances.

Meanwhile, the seven combined home runs could be a harbinger of things to come for the World Series. The Yankees and Phillies play in hitter-friendly parks, and these two teams love to homer.

May 23, 2009: Yankees 5, Phillies 4 (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Jose Veras
LP: Brad Lidge
HR: John Mayberry, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez

Would you like some pie with your victory, Mr. Cabrera? Down 4-2 with but three outs left to play, the Yankees staged one of their walk-off wins against Brad Lidge. Alex Rodriguez hit a game-tying two-run home run with one out, and after a Robinson Cano single and a stolen base, Melky delivered the game-winning hit into right-center field. It was Melky’s three walk-off hit of the year and second of the homestand.

Andy Pettitte and J.A. Happ squared off in this one. Pettitte threw seven innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks. His mistakes ended up on the wrong side of the fence, and Happ helped the Yankees in check for six innings. In the ninth, though, A-Rod showed us just how good he could be. After falling behind 1-2, the Yanks’ slugger took two sliders from Lidge for balls before depositing a 94-mph four-seamer over the right field fence. Two batters later, pie ensued.

May 24, 2009: Phillies 4, Yankees 3 (11 innings) (Box Score) (RAB Recap)
WP: Clay Condrey
LP: Brett Tomko
HR: Mark Teixeira

I remember this game well. I remember following along via MLB.com’s Mobile Gameday as the Yankees came oh-so-close to another walk-off. I remember having to sit through a terrible Brett Tomko performance in which he threw 16 of 30 pitches outside of the strike zone, and I remember a very disappointing loss.

CC Sabathia drew the start against Cole Hamels, and the game lived up to its billing. The Big Man allowed three runs on nine hits and no walks over eight innings, and Hamels held the Yanks to just a pair over six. In the ninth, the Brad Lidge Experience started all over again. Robinson Cano singled, and the speedy Ramiro Pena pinch ran and promptly stole a base. Melky singled home Cano and then stole second. The Yankees were just begging to win this one.

It was, however, not to be. Hideki Matsui struck out, and Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner grounded out. The Yanks could have won on outs, but fate dealt them a bad hand. After Rivera threw a 19-pitch inning, Joe Girardi gave the ball to Brett Tomko. The inning went a little bit something like this: Foul out, ground out, walk, double to Yankee Killer Carlos Freakin’ Ruiz, walk, pop out. Ruiz went 6 for 8 against the Yankees with three RBIs that weekend. He’s just not that good. In the bottom of the inning, Melky, Hideki and Kevin Cash had no chance, and the Yanks would drop the series to the Phillies.

* * *

Generally, the three games against the Phillies were tense and tight match-ups. The teams flashed some power in the first game, and the Yanks walked off with the second. They played two one-run games, and a bunch of pitchers no longer with either team factored into these late-May contests. We’ll see that good baseball again this week in the World Series as these two evenly-matched teams face off again for the final baseball showdown of 2009.

World Series Preview: Phillies Starters
Our son returns to the Bronx
  • Doug

    and amazingly, posada didn’t catch aj that game

  • pat

    I was happy with just beating the Angels but I want to destroy the Phillies.

  • Dela G

    carlos ruiz murdered the dodgers

    let’s hope he doesn’t do the same to the yanks

    i can’t take another jeff mathis or howie kendrick

    • Rob in CT

      There’s always a guy like that. I’ll take another jeff mathis or howie kendrick… because the Yankees WON that series, in spite of flukey Mathis and typical Yankee-killing Kendrick.

    • JGS

      at least Kendrick is a generally good hitter. that bothers me much less than Mathis and Punto

      • Doug

        you could say the same thing about melky for us. he makes for a pretty good 9 hitter, but he’s been better than expected in the playoffs.

    • Randy A.

      ruiz killed the yankees earlier this year. it was such a joke…he was hitting 9th in their lineup and i believe he went 7-8 in may. I hope they wont let that happen again.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Who do you fear more? Carlos Ruiz or Jeff Mathis?

    Those constant Jeff Mathis doubles off of any pitcher we seemed to put on the mound was pretty aggravating. Just didn’t really make any sense…

    Very similar to Carlos “El Matador” Ruiz…

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      Very similar to Carlos “El Matador” Ruiz…

      Not to be confused with the “El Matador” Tito Santana…

  • Tank Foster

    I can’t wait for this &*(@#_$(@&&*#&*!!$#@^ series to start.

  • Chris

    The Yankees and Phillies play in hitter-friendly parks, and these two teams love to homer.

    Actually, the Yankees play at a park that slightly favors pitchers (the park factor is 0.965). Yankee stadium is the most home run friendly park in baseball, but it depresses doubles and triples enough to offset that (it’s second worst in baseball for doubles and worst for triples).

    • Doug

      not sure where i read this (think it may have been on mike’s chat yesterday actually), but there have been more homerless games at the stadium in the playoffs already than in the entire regular season.

      guess the weather does make a difference. well, that and good pitching.

    • Nady Nation

      I’ve seen people post this a few times, but if so many home runs are being hit, wouldn’t that just naturally curtail doubles and triples since balls that might normally be in the gap or up against the wall in the corners of the OF are just leaving the park? I think, because of that, it’s kind of misleading to say that the park slightly favors pitchers.

      • Mister Delaware

        If it depresses 2B/3B by more than it increases HRs and thus decreases overall normalized scoring, it would be fair to say it favors pitchers.

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

          Yep–It’s pretty much YSII with more of a Babe Ruth porch in right (though I think it’s still not as short as that one).

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        The Stadium is also 20th in MLB (11th in AL) in the park factor for runs (.965).

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Yeah. You’re right. I took the lazy approach there. Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank are homer-friendly parks, and these teams like to homer. YSIII is slightly a pitcher’s park in other aspects.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I was at the Sunday game. I remember yelling from the RF Grandstand for Brett Tomko to prove all my shit-talking about him wrong. He did not. I also remember feeling like less of a man when Tex hit a broken-bat home run.

    • jsbrendog

      I also remember feeling like less of a man when Tex hit a broken-bat home run.


  • Senor A. Boy

    Where is Ramiro Pena now? In Tampa working out?

    • Joe R

      Think he’s with the team because they know they’re not going to add him to the roster.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Are we bringing in Hinske for the Series? Or do we stick with the (barely used) Guzman?

    • Doug

      hinske will definitely be activated, probably for guzman

      • SportsPat8

        No need for Hinske…I like having two PRs.

        • Doug

          in the NL park with all the switches and double switches, we’ll need the extra bat off the bench

          • pat

            Yea dude, we need a big bat off the bench. Guzman can’t hit for crap, he needs to be subbed for someone who is already on base.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          There is definitely a need for Hinske. His bat is infinitely better than Guzman’s and it will be needed with at least two games played in the NL park.

  • SportsPat8

    Phils just announced PEDRO is going Game 2 in the Bronx…these pitching matchups really favor us.

    • Doug

      wow, they’re really trusting hamels’ h/a splits

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        I was talking to my friend the Phillies fan…Pedro has similar home/away splits to Hamels. I’ll take it, though!

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          1.88 ERA at home in 24.0 IP. .225/.274/.427 (.771) against

          5.66 ERA on road in 20.2 IP. .322/.362/.517 (.801) against

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Two best teams in baseball going at it in the WS, can’t ask for more than that.

    • pete

      i’m sorry but i really don’t agree with this. The phillies are an excellent team – far and away the best in the NL, on account of solid pitching and a great lineup, but are they really the second best (or best) in baseball? Put the Red Sox/Tigers/Rays/Angels and maybe even the jays in the NL East, and i’d bet you they end up with a better record. The phils had an abominable bullpen and a very yankees pre-2009 rotation (always one stud at any given time, but rarely more than two guys going strong at any one time).
      Maybe i’m selling the phils a little short, but i just can’t agree with calling the phillies the second best team in baseball when they are sending Pedro Martinez out for game 2.

  • Steve

    The Phillies are not the 2nd best team in baseball. They have one decent starter. They blew out two teams with sub-par pitching to get to where they are. I really don’t see this series going past 5 games. Same result had the Angels been their opponent.