Aces are wild in a rematch of last year’s World Series tonight in the Bronx
Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees
Philadelphia stumbles into this rematch of the 2009 World Series with a discouraging 8-16 mark since May 17, which is the second-worst record in the National League over that span. The offense has averaged just 2.5 runs per game over the timeframe, which is actually the worst in baseball. 2B Chase Utley will look to break out of a long slump, managing to produce just a .153 average and no home runs since May 20. The Phillies have historically had problems during interleague play and its no different this year. Philadelphia is 2-4 (-310) against the American League this season and 18-32 (-1,790) over the last three years. The club is also a disappointing 5-9 (-1,020) against left-handed starters, after going 72-50 (+700) versus southpaws the past three years.
Phillies SP Roy Halladay is 8-4 with a 1.96 ERA in 13 starts this season (-190). The right-hander is familiar with tonight’s foe due to his time with the Toronto Blue Jays, posting a 18-6 record and 2.84 ERA in 37 outings (+1,370). He is actually 11-2 since 2005 against the Bronx Bombers and has the best all-time ERA for an active pitcher against them with a minimum of 100 innings pitched. Halladay has a dominating 4-1 record and 1.52 ERA in six road starts this season (+80), allowing just a single home run in 47.1 innings of work. He has held Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter in check during their confrontations, holding him to a .242 average and striking him out 24 times.
New York benefited from a soft schedule the past two weeks, playing 16 games against teams well below .500. The Yankees won 11 of those games and are now tied with the Rays for the first time since April 21. “It’s impossible to ignore the scoreboard, because it’s right there in front of you and it’s really big in every park that we go to,” said manager Joe Girardi. “But you have to play well on a consistent basis to be here at the end.” The club expects 3B Alex Rodriguez (hip) back in the lineup for tonight’s series opener. Since he was forced out of Thursday’s game, replacement players have combined to go 2-for-12 and driven in two runs.
Yankees SP C.C. Sabathia looks to start his usual second-half surge, as he earned 14 of his 19 wins last year with a interleague victory over Washington on June 16. The left-hander is just 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in nine starts against all teams other than Baltimore, as he’s faced the Orioles four times already this season. Sabathia is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in five home starts this season (-200), limiting opponents to a .189 average (.278 road). He will be making just his fourth career start against tonight’s opponent (-400), producing an even 1-1 mark and 4.35 ERA in three starts.
Tonight’s starters will face each other for the third time in their brilliant careers, splitting the first two meetings, with Halladay posting a 3.29 ERA and Sabathia a 3.07 ERA. It’s important to note that the Yankees have only been a home favorite of -125 to -150 five times this season (1-4, -460), while the Phillies are a road underdog of +100 to +125 for the sixth time (3-2, +120).