The New York Yankees defeated the Philadephia Phillies 8-1 on Monday night. The early April game, while entertaining for the Bronx faithful, has little to no significance on the season. Yes, a win is a win, and for the Phillies, the loss brings them to 0-4 on the year. However, in a 162-game context, a baseball game in the first week doesn’t carry a lot of weight.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 4, 2023
What this game does remind us baseball fans of is the history of the two clubs. Specifically, how even when things change, some things remain the same. Baseball looks a lot different than it did in the 1950s but the Yankees and Phillies oddly enough reminded everyone of what their franchises are and always have been, especially when they face one another.
The history between the Yankees and Phillies isn’t a lot. However, the small sample size can explain how these two teams have had an interesting rivalry over the past 73 years.
The Yankees and Phillies 73-year History, Summed up in an 8-1 Game
The 1950 World Series
The Phillies entered the 1950 World Series as the “Whiz Kids” with a young and promising team. With an average age of 26.5, the youngest team in the league won 91 games to win the National League pennant and they looked like the team of the future. Led by future Hall of Famers like Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn, they were the up-and-coming team that was going to be the future of baseball. The Phillies looked poised to win the 1950 series and many more to come, led by that core of young and talented players.
They were swept by the Yankees in a quick four-game series. The second game of the series went into 10 innings and three of the four games were one-run games. Yet, the series was one-sided. The Yankees never trailed at any point and won the clincher with a 5-2 exclamation point.
The Yankees meanwhile won the series as a continuation of a remarkable run. They won the title the year before and would win it the next three years as part of a run that was them win 16 championships in a 26-year span. They entered the 1950 series as the class of baseball and remained that way throughout the decade. For them, the Phillies were a bug on the windshield.
The Phillies unfortunately never recovered from the sweep and failed to reach the World Series for 30 years. The “Whiz Kids” never materialized into a winning team as they only finished above .500 four times in the next 10 years. The 1950 World Series was their moment in the spotlight and their chance to echt their name into baseball lore. They bumped into the team of the decade.
Yankees Beat The Phillies Again (In 2009)
The Phillies entered the 2009 World Series as defending champions and arguably had a better roster than the year before. After winning it all in 2008, ending a 28-year drought, they won 93 games in the regular season (one more than the year before) and cruised through the National League. Led by everyday players Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins, they looked poised to repeat as champions.
They faced the Yankees and unless Cliff Lee was on the mound, they lost every game of the series (Lee pitched games one and five). The Yankees won the World Series and took home their 27th championship which is 25 more than the Phillies have, despite both franchises being in existence as long as the fall classic has been.
The Phillies had their roster in a prime position to become the dynasty of the last 2000s. They hit a wall in the Yankees and couldn’t recover. The Phillies lost in the National League Championship Series the next year and wouldn’t reach the World Series again until 2022. A franchise that only occasionally has great moments had to bump into the most successful team in baseball history.
How This History Lesson is Relevant For Monday’s Game
The Phillies have always been the exciting and fun team of the future. They have always had exciting players on their roster and look like a team ready to take the league by storm. Last year’s playoff run, as they powered their way through the National League while the fans played “Dancing On My Own” was a reminder of the thrill they bring to the game.
This year is no expectation. After reaching the World Series last year, they signed Trea Turner in the offseason, a cherry on the top move. With Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto powering the lineup while Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola led the rotation, they looked poised for a big year. They are 0-4 to start the season which doesn’t doom them but is a red flag.
READ MORE: The Yankees have a promising future
The problem in the big picture for the Phillies is that they more often than not run into teams like the Yankees. Occasionally, the Phillies break through and become that feel-good underdog story that everyone rallies behind as they win it all. That’s what happened in 1980 and again in 2008. Unfortunately, the Yankees, like a handful of teams have been the bar for success and leave Philadelphians as fans and citizens of the city as second fiddle.
The Yankees show that gap. Despite failing to reach the World Series in 13 years, they have been a model franchise. They haven’t had a losing season since 1992 and consistently put together star-studded rosters.
Monday’s game saw Nestor Cortes overwhelm the Phillies for five innings while the bullpen closed out the game. The Yankees bats also went to work with Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres homering while the rest of the lineup made contact and kept the line moving, driving in eight runs in the win.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 4, 2023
The 2023 season is one of change. The bases are bigger, there’s a pitch clock, the shift is banned, and games are faster. At the same time, some things just don’t change as the Yankees game against the Phillies reminded us.