As the Yankees enjoy today’s off-day, let’s take a look at the week ahead.
On Tuesday, the Phillies come to the Bronx for a three-game set. The Phillies, which hail from the city that has now lost two major sports titles in the past calendar year, are currently in third-place in the NL East, 3.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, but only two games back in the loss column. The Phillies are 4-6 in their last ten games, and come off a series in Boston in which they dropped 2 of 3. On Tuesday, the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the hill to face off against Roy Halladay. I’m certain that at least one TV commentator will refer to it as a “potential Game 1 World Series matchup”. I’m equally certain that this will annoy me, but I can’t seem to pin down why that is. The following evening, the Phillies will send Kyle Kendrick to face AJ Burnett. This game has the misfortune of being shown on ESPN and my heart goes out to all of you who have to listen to Joe Morgan. The man is a national disgrace. The last game of the series features Jamie Moyer and Andy Pettitte, who have a combined age of over 175 years, approximately. Obviously anything can happen, but the latter two matchups are very favorable for the Yankees and if they are able to win the first game I will be vociferously calling for the sweep.
When the Phillies leave town, the Yankees will host the crosstown Mets. The Mets are currently 35-28, one game ahead of the Phillies and a game and a half behind the Braves. Winners of their last four straight, the Mets are 8-2 in their last 10 games and sport a +36 run differential, second-best in their division. This is much better than I expected from this team. Interestingly, they are better at home than on the road. At Citi Field, the Mets are 24-10. Everywhere else, they are 11-18. This series will feature rematches of every pitching matchup from the last Subway Series in May. On Friday night, the Yankees will send Javier Vazquez to face Hisanori Takahashi. Last time they faced off, neither Takahashi nor Vazquez gave up a run, but the Yankees scored off the Mets’ bullpen and won 2-1. On Saturday, the Yankees will send Hughes to the mound against Mike Pelfrey. Last time they met, Pelfrey outdueled Hughes and the Mets won 5-3. The final matchup of the weekend will feature Johan Santana and CC Sabathia, as well as commentary from every Yankees outlet on the time the Yankees almost dealt for Johan Santana. To me, the storyline is getting a bit stale, which is why I am starting the completely false rumor that Cashman was prepared to part with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for Santana, but balked at the Twins’ demand that he include Melky Cabrera. Now that would be interesting. Last time Santana and Sabathia faced off, Santana won and the Mets took the series. Hopefully this weekend will be different.
The Yankees feasted on the Orioles and the Astros last week and now face more of a challenge in the Phillies and the Mets. I will continue to be very pleased if they can win 2 of 3, especially against the Phillies. I don’t know if it was the World Series, but Philadelphia has quickly become my second most-hated sports city. I think you can probably guess the first.