(Sports Network) - A terrific pitching matchup is on tap this evening in the Bronx, as CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees welcome Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies to Yankee Stadium in a rematch of last year's World Series combatants.
New York, of course, ended a nine-year championship drought a year ago, capturing its 27th world title by beating the Phillies in six games.
The Yankees, who enter tonight's tilt tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in baseball atop the AL East, once again look like a team that will be competing in October, but the Phillies have struggled mightily at the plate and have fallen to third in the NL East, 3 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves.
Philadelphia has the second-worst mark in the NL since May 17 at 8-16 and have managed a major league-worst 2.5 runs per game in that span. The offense did show some signs of life on Sunday, however, as the Phils salvaged the finale of their three-game set with the Boston Red Sox by picking up a 5-3 win at Fenway Park.
"If we get back to the way that we play, we play one day at a time, that's what works for us," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I feel like sometimes along the way, we kind of get out of that. We never ever -- and this is the truth -- in the last two years, I never ever heard our team even talking about losing. We usually don't talk about that. If we say something, it's about winning. And I've heard the last couple weeks, I've heard some guys say something about the losing. We used to never ever do that. If we play the game right and everything, things are going to be OK for us."
Halladay, though, has not been the problem. A long-time nemesis of the Yankees, he's adjusted nicely to the National League, posting an 8-4 mark to go along with a 1.96 earned run average. However, the Phillies have lost four of his last six starts and scored a mere 11 runs in the process.
Such was the case in his last outing, which took place Thursday against Florida. Halladay gave up just one run in eight innings of that one but was charged with the loss in the 2-0 setback, Philadelphia's seventh shutout setback of the season.
Pitching the first 12 years of his career in the AL East, Halladay is certainly no stranger to the Yankees. In 37 games (35 starts) against them, he is an incredible 18-6 with a 2.84 ERA. Since the start of the 2005 season, though, he is 11-2.
Sabathia, meanwhile, has yet to resemble the pitcher who won 19 games a year ago. However, last year at this time he had one less victory than the six he has now, and he enters tonight's contest with back-to-back wins, albeit against the woeful Baltimore Orioles. In fact, his last four wins have come at the expense of the 17-win O's.
The 28-year-old lefty held Baltimore to two runs and nine hits in seven innings on Wednesday to run his season mark to 6-3 while lowering his ERA to a still-lofty 4.01.
Sabathia was 0-1 in two World Series starts versus the Phils last season, and is 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA in three regular-season starts against them.
On the injury front, Jorge Posada, who hit grand slams in the final two games of the Yankees' three-game sweep over the Houston Astros, should be back behind the plate tonight after leaving Sunday's 9-5 win with soreness in his right foot.
New York could also have third baseman Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup. The three-time AL MVP missed this weekend's series with a sore right hip.
The Phillies took two of three at Yankee Stadium during interleague play last season , but are just 2-4 versus the AL this season. New York is 4-2 against the Senior Circuit this season.