Diamondbacks @ Yankees Series Preview

For the second straight series, thanks to the magic of interleague play, New York Yankees fans get to see something special at Yankee Stadium. After hosting Barry Bonds and San Francisco, the Yankees welcome Arizona for three games starting Monday, setting up a rematch of the 2001 World Series.

The Yankees come into the series with a 40-23 mark, trailing Boston by 1½ games in the AL East after winning two of three from the Giants. Boston, meanwhile, was swept at home by the Diamondbacks, who improved to 39-23 in the NL West, good for a two-game lead over Los Angeles.

Both teams catch a break as the Yankees miss Curt Schilling, who dominated them in last year's Series, while Arizona won't face Roger Clemens, and likely won't have to deal with closer Mariano Rivera, who is expected to miss the series with a groin injury.

The game of musical right fielders will also continue for the Yankees. Juan Rivera, called up last week, broke his kneecap and was placed on the disabled list. So a combination of Shane Spencer, John Vander Wal and recently-recalled Marcus Thames will be called on.


If there is one game that looks like a mismatch, at least from the starting pitcher standpoint, it's Monday, when the Yankees will send LHP Sterling Hitchcock (1-0, 6.00) against Randy Johnson (9-1, 2.56). Hitchcock makes his second start and seventh appearance of the season. It will also be his 10th start against Arizona, against whom he is 0-8 with a 5.64 ERA. In his last start, May 20 against Toronto, he gave up three runs on four hits in four innings.

Johnson has been his dominating self, striking out 115 in 95 innings and allowing just 75 hits and 23 walks. He has allowed more than three runs just twice in 13 starts. And in last year's World Series, he was series co-MVP with a 3-0 mark and a 1.04 ERA.

On Tuesday, the Yankees have the mound edge with David Wells facing Brian Anderson in a battle of left-handers. Wells is 6-3 in 12 starts in 2002, losing his last two starts. But he pitched pretty well in both losses, giving up five runs and 13 hits in 15 innings.

Anderson is just 1-5 with a 4.94 ERA in 17 appearances, eight as a starter. He has pitched better recently, losing his last start 2-0 to the Dodgers despite giving up just 2 hits in seven innings. Anderson lost his only World Series start against the Yankees despite pitching well, giving up 2 runs in 5 1/3 innings in losing Game 3 to Clemens, 2-1.

The series concludes Wednesday with Miguel Batista and Mike Mussina on the mound. Mussina has improved to 9-2 and lowered his ERA to 4.07 in winning his last six decisions. He started twice in the 2001 World Series, lasting just three innings in the opener, won by Arizona 9-1, and pitching well in a no-decision in Game 5, a game won by the Yankees 3-2 in 12 innings.

Batista was on the mound for the Diamondbacks in Game 5 and pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings only to see Scott Brosius' 9th-inning game-tying homer off Byung-Hyun Kim cost him a win. Switching between starting and relieving in 2002, Batista is 3-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 16 games, 10 starts.


This is the third straight year the Yankees will face a World Series rematch after playing six games against the Mets in 2001 after their 2000 Series victory and three against Atlanta in 2000 after the 1999 win. … The Yankees have 98 home runs in 63 games. The 1961 team, which set a franchise record with 240 homers, reached 100 in the 70th game of the season. … One key member of the Diamondbacks, third baseman Matt Williams, may be close to rejoining the team. Williams has missed the entire season but is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories