2010 marks the fourteenth season of interleague play, and the seventh time in those fourteen years that the Yankees are the reigning American League champions. When the Yankees and Phillies start their three game interleague series tonight, it'll be the fifth time in those seven years that the Yankees face their opponent from the previous Fall Classic.
In 1997, the inaugural year of interleague play, the Yankees hosted Atlanta from June 30th through July 2nd. Just as they had in the previous year's World Series, the Braves took two of the three games played in the Bronx. All three games were pitchers' duels, with the Braves taking games two and three with scores of 3-1 and 2-0 respectively, while the lone Yankee win was a ten inning 1-0 victory in the opener.
Three years later the two clubs met in Atlanta, in a rematch of the 1999 World Series. This time the Yanks took the series, winning two of the three games. This series was far more offensive than the 1997 rematch, as each of the three games matched or exceeded the seven total runs from '97 series. The Yanks took the opener 5-2, dropped the middle 7-11, and took the rubber match 7-6.
The six Subway Series games between the Yankees and Mets in 2001 were one more than number of games the teams played in the 2000 World Series. The Yankees took the first two at Shea in mid-June before dropping the series finale. Two and half weeks later, they met again at Yankee Stadium. Once again the Yanks took the opener, then dropped the middle game, before winning the series finale.
2002 was the last time the Yankees played an interleague series against the previous year's World Series opponent, as they hosted the Diamondbacks from June 10th through 12th. In the series opener, New York did what they couldn't do the previous fall: beat Randy Johnson. The Big Unit surrendered five runs through seven and two thirds, two of them coming on the home run hit by Marcus Thames in his first Major League at bat. The Yankees won again the following day, behind the pitching of David Wells, who had walked away from a handshake deal with the Snakes to rejoin the Yankees the previous off-season. The Dbacks avoided the sweep in the finale, as Byung-Hun Kim exacted some measure of redemption, pitching two scoreless innings for the save and fanning Bernie Williams, Jason Giambi, and Jorge Posada in working a flawless eighth inning.
Over those four years, the Yankees went 9-6 in interleague World Series rematches, scoring 65 runs and allowing 62. They dropped two of three to Philadelphia in an interleague series last Memorial Day weekend, but are 11-10 overall against Philly in seven interleague series.
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