© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
Forgive the Phillies for not being particularly excited about facing Randy Johnson, which they'll do on Monday when the Yankees visit Philadelphia.
It's Randy Johnson, after all.
"He's 6-10, throws about 100 [mph] from the left side with a nasty slider. Who wouldn't want to face him, especially hitting left-handed?" slugger Ryan Howard said. "Up here, you want to face the best of the best. He's one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues."
While Johnson has 271 wins to his credit, the 42-year-old has been struggling with a 5.32 ERA in 15 starts, and has allowed 15 homers in 86 1/3 innings. The lefty will start the first game against Philadelphia's ace, Brett Myers.
The three-game series against the Yankees will bring third-base coach Larry Bowa back to Philadelphia for the first time since being dismissed as Phils manager with two games left in the 2004 season, and bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan, who didn't return as Philadelphia's pitching coach after that same season.
It also reunites Philadelphia closer Tom Gordon with his Yankees teammates from the 2004-05 seasons.
"Playing with the Yankees the last couple years, they're definitely an aggressive ballclub," Gordon said. "Guys on that team play their roles, and they play their roles well. It's going to be a challenge, but hopefully we can make some things happen against them."
The homestand has been a challenge for the Phillies, who have lost five of six to the Mets and Rays. They host the Yanks, then continue their Interleague schedule with a road trip through Boston, Baltimore and Toronto.
"We had a rough week, but next week could be our week," Chase Utley said.
NYY: LHP Randy Johnson (8-5, 5.32 ERA)
He was ejected from his last start for throwing high and inside to Cleveland's Eduardo Perez.
PHI: RHP Brett Myers (4-3, 3.86 ERA)
He has allowed 11 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last two starts.
Player to watch
David Bell is 9-for-25 (.360) in his career against Johnson.
Interleague by the numbers:
All-time Record vs. Yankees:
All-time club Interleague records:
75-82 overall, 53-59 vs. American League East. The Phillies are 6-3 against the Yankees in Philadelphia.
On the Internet
Tuesday: Yankees (RHP Mike Mussina, 8-3, 3.14) at Phillies (RHP Cory Lidle, 4-6, 4.89), 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Yankees (RHP Jaret Wright, 3-4, 4.86 ERA) at Phillies (LHP Cole Hamels, 1-2, 4.91), 7:05 p.m. ET