Series rematch? Not quite
No Hideki Matsui. No Johnny Damon. No Cliff Lee. No Pedro Martinez. No Jimmy Rollins.
You couldn’t write an account of the 2009 World Series without mentioning all of those guys prominently. So what’s all this stuff about the inter-league series between the Yankees and the Phillies at the Stadium the next three nights being a World Series rematch? The Phillies aren’t even in first place in the National League East while the Yankees are tied with the Rays for first in the American League East.
Rollins is still with the Phillies but is on the disabled list due to a strained right calf and won’t play in the series. Matsui, Damon and Lee are all wearing different uniforms, and Martinez is probably waiting to get one of those mid-season calls like he did last year from Philadelphia.
There is a sense of déjà vu with the Yankees because their starting pitchers for the series are CC Sabathia Tuesday night, A.J. Burnett Wednesday night and Andy Pettitte Thursday night, the three starters they used exclusively throughout last year’s post-season. The Yanks’ lineup Tuesday night will not include Alex Rodriguez, who had a home run and six RBI in the World Series as part of a 2009 post-season in which he batted .365 with six homers and 18 RBI in 15 games. A-Rod has tendinitis in his right hip flexor. He is available as a pinch hitter Tuesday night and may return to third base Wednesday night.
Replacing Rodriguez in the cleanup spot has been Robinson Cano, who hit his 100th career home run Sunday against the Astros. Robbie is only the third second baseman in club history to reach that plateau. The others (minimum 50 percent of games played at the position) are Hall of Famers Tony Lazzeri (169) and Joe Gordon (153).
The Phils and Yanks also have the top two pitching tandems with the most combined career pitching victories. The Phillies’ Roy Halladay and Jamie Moyer have 420; the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez are next with 383. Pettitte and Moyer will oppose each other in the series finale Thursday night.
There was talk last week that a Phillies rainout made it possible for Halladay, 18-6 in his career against the Yankees, to pitch in this series. Not so. While it is true that last Wednesday night’s rainout at Citizens Bank Park against the Marlins pushed “Doc” back to Thursday, he would have started Tuesday night against the Yankees anyway because Monday was an open date for the Phillies.