Phillies face challenges, reunions in 2011 interleague: A fan’s preview

The Philadelphia Phillies have become used to playing American League teams in October. All of us here in Philadelphia hope that they can do that again, but until then, possible World Series previews in interleague play will have to do.

Unfortunately, this time of year often doesn't go well, as the Phillies only have a .451 winning percentage in the regular season against the AL. But they are going to have to do better in this year's interleague schedule, which includes a few notable reunions and a potential World Series preview.

May 20-22: Phillies vs Texas Rangers

This could and should have been last year's World Series match-up, if not for the San Francisco Giants. Yet, the Phillies will finally take a shot at the Rangers at home this coming weekend, as Cliff Lee(notes) is likely to take on his former team at some point. That will obviously be the most-hyped game of the match-up, but the whole series will pit Philadelphia against a possible contender—assuming that Texas doesn't get much worse before Josh Hamilton(notes) comes back.

June 17-19: Phillies at Seattle Mariners

Although these two teams don't often meet, they have some very significant connections. Pat Gillick left Seattle to become Philadelphia's general manager in 2005, and then led the Phillies to a World Series crown three years later. In return, the Phils rented Lee out to the Mariners in order to land Roy Halladay(notes) in 2009—a trade that only stopped being controversial when Lee returned.

June 24-26: Phillies at Oakland Athletics

Long ago, these two franchises shared Philadelphia, until the old Philadelphia A's left town. Since then, it appeared that Oakland got the better end of things, when the A's won championships and the Phillies went through all their title droughts. But the franchises have reversed course again in the last several years—yet, although the Athletics may not be a powerhouse now, the Phils can't afford to look ahead to the next series.

June 28-30: Phillies at Boston Red Sox

Practically every baseball expert predicted this to be the World Series match-up, after Philadelphia and Boston finished their big off-seasons. That could still happen, but so far, only the Phillies have lived up to their early hype, while the Red Sox have struggled. For us Philadelphia fans, Boston serves as a cautionary tale, as for all our worry over the Phillies' injuries and lack of offense, the team has still overcome their flaws better than the Red Sox. However, by the time this series starts, Boston could always get back on track.

July 1-3: Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays

The Phils were supposed to be in Toronto last season, but the G-20 summit made the Blue Jays come to Philadelphia. But this season, the Phillies will celebrate the last few days before the Fourth of July in Canada. Their interleague schedule will likely start with Lee facing his old team, so fittingly, it will likely end with Roy Halladay facing his old club, this time in his old home.

Other stories from this contributor:

Phillies continue to let opposing aces off the hook

Phillies face their first major showdowns of 2011

Braves off to slow start in challenging Phillies

Marlins emerge as biggest early threat to Phillies

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.


Don't miss a minute of the action with MLB.com Full Count!
Batter up! Sign up for Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball or follow Yahoo! Sports' MLB coverage on Twitter.
Updated Monday, May 16, 2011