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Prepare for Infestation: Phillies vs. Yankees Series Preview

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The Phillies welcome the Yankees - and their fans - to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game series

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are coming to town. You know all about them: Baseball’s marquee franchise, the Bronx Bombers, the Evil Empire. I guess this is the point when we should all be all impressed.

You know what? Sunday night’s meltdown aside, the Phillies are doing pretty well themselves. So while the Yankees - along with the infestation of obnoxious fans that inevitably follow them - might think they’re going to march into Philadelphia and have their way, they’re likely in for a big surprise.

The Last Time They Met

The Phillies traveled to Yankee Stadium in 2015 and went 2-1. The 2015 Phillies were not an offensive powerhouse but somehow scored 11 runs in each of the first two games. Unfortunately, that offense vanished in the finale, as the Phillies only runs came in the ninth, well after the game was decided.

Phillies vs. Yankees: The History

In regular season games, the Phillies have had the advantage over the Yankees, posting a 14-13 record. Does this winning record mean that the Phillies have indisputably been the the better team throughout their histories? I don’t like making definitive declarations like that, but you have to admit that a pretty strong case can be made.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Yankees
Ben Revere and the Phillies defeated the Yankees in 2015
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

If Yankees fans want to be jerks (and history shows that most of them often do), they might bring up the two World Series that have been played between the two teams. My advice is to simply tune out anything a Yankees fan says, because it’s usually not worth listening to.

As for the 2018 Yankees

The Yankees are tied for first place in the American League East with a 50-25 record. That’s impressive. Considerably less impressive is how they just suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. In case you were curious, the Rays have a 37-40 record, indicating that they are not some sort of powerhouse.

Phillies Pitching vs. Yankees Offense

At first glance, the Yankees have a good offense. They rank first in the American League in OPS and are third in runs scored. Unfortunately, the offense is pretty solid at second glance too. The lineup is loaded with power hitters, the headliners being Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. On the other hand, these guys were just stymied by the Rays pitching staff, so just how good can they be?

Shutting them down is going to be a tough task, but the Phillies’ starters have shown the capability of handling even the best lineups at times. First up is Vince Velasquez, and this would be a very opportune time for “good Velasquez” to make an appearance. He’s alternated good and bad starts his last four outings, and since his last start was bad, I hope this trend continues. (At least I hope the trend continues through this start. If he pitches well on Monday, I certainly don’t want to see him follow it up with a poor outing.)

St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies need a good start from Vince Velasquez
Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Jake Arrieta gets the ball on Tuesday, and he’s certainly not going to be intimidated by facing the Yankees. This will be his eighth career start against them, and he’s got a 3-1 record. The finale will go to Zach Eflin, who has perhaps been the Phillies’ best starter in June with a 2.28 ERA for the month.

Admittedly, the thought of the Phillies’ bullpen going against the Yankees’ lineup is a bit frightening. There was hope that they might have turned things around, but Sunday night’s performance (Why, Seranthony???) shows that all the problems may not be behind them.

Yankees Pitching vs. Phillies Offense

The Yankees’ offense gets the hype, but the Phillies’ offense is certainly no slouch. Over the past two weeks, they’re third in the National League in runs scored (and one of the teams ahead of them is the Rockies, and that barely counts). The main catalyst has been Odubel Herrera who has arguably been the best hitter in baseball during that time.

Herrera isn’t the only one hitting well. Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana have both been pounding the ball, and Nick Williams has quietly been providing strong offensive numbers in right field.

Remember how the Phillies won two of three against the Yankees in 2015? The best hitter in that series was Maikel Franco who went 6-12 with three home runs. He’s probably chomping at the bit for another opportunity to destroy Yankee pitching.

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
Maikel Franco is ready for another crack at Yankees pitching
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The first Yankees pitcher to face Franco and company will be rookie Jonathan Loaisiga. It seems unfair to send a rookie starter into Citizens Bank Park, but considering the Yankees were just swept by the Rays, they might make their share of questionable decisions. Loaisiga pitched well in his debut outing, but failed to make it past the fourth inning in his second start. (Maybe the book is out on him?)

Next up is the Yankees presumptive ace, Luis Severino. Severino is good, but the Phillies have faced other good pitchers this season and found a way to come out ahead. Severino has won eleven games this season, but would you like to guess how many times he faced a red-hot Odubel Herrera in those wins? (Hint: It’s zero.)

In the finale, the Yankees have chosen to go with Luis Cessa who will be making his first start of the season. People talk about the arrogance of New Yorkers, and this is a great example of it. They really think they can just throw a young reliever on the mound against the Phillies and expect to succeed?

Boo This Man

The Yankees bullpen has been strong this season, and the main man is closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is known for his 100 MPH fastball and also his suspension for domestic violence.

Let’s Be Gracious Hosts

Citizens Bank Park is going to be packed for this series, and it’s a good bet that there will be a decent amount of Yankees fans in the crowd. Any Phillies fans who head to the games have to make sure that the stadium is not overtaken by cheers for the visitors. If the New Yorkers are loud (are they ever not?) then Phillies fans need to be even louder.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
We must be ever vigilant against the threat of invading Yankee fans
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not saying Phillies fans should drunkenly confront each and every Yankees fan they see, but...no, I’m definitely not saying that. You can be as loud as you want and drown out their cheers, but please keep things civil and non-physical.

Prediction

I was going to pick the Yankees to win the series. After all, they’re doing well and have already won 50 games. Then I remembered that they just got swept by the Rays. And they’re using two less-than-stellar starting pitchers this series. And the Phillies’ lineup has been clicking. So why would I pick the Yankees to win? Phils take two out of three.