Mark Hendrickson has stood on the pitcher's mound in both ballparks and knows the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, which begins Wednesday night, could turn on one pitching mistake.

Try to get too fine, try to be too perfect, and a game could be won when one fly ball carries in the night air.

The Baltimore Orioles lefthander and resident of York County has learned to enjoy pitching in longball friendly Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Call it an acquired taste -- especially for a pitcher -- but Hendrickson seems to have adjusted to the small parks.

"At first I wasn't a big fan (of the new Yankee Stadium) but it kind of grew on me," Hendrickson said. "I've had some success, but (Yankee Stadium) is a hitter-friendly park like Boston or Philly. You just have to make pitches and stay aggressive."

Hendrickson had success against both World Series participants this season. He earned a victory against the Phillies when he pitched in relief June 20 (in the midst of Baltimore's three-game sweep of the World Champions).

And he baffled the Yankees for three innings on Sept. 12 when he entered a game that had started the day before. After a delay to start the game and more rain, Hendrickson entered the game around midnight. He pitched the final three innings to earn a save in the Orioles' 10-4 victory against the Yankees.

"It had to be the latest time I've ever entered a game," Hendrickson said.


"No lie, there must have been about 100 people in the stands when the game finally ended. And that included my fiancée and some family members.

"I notched my first major-league save. That was a pretty good memory for one night."

The Yankees and Phillies haven't met in a postseason since 1950, when New York swept the Whiz Kids in the World Series. So it's a bit of an odd pairing.

But Hendrickson has been impressed with both teams' lineups -- the Phillies are led by Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth, while New York has Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

The trouble, Hendrickson said, will come if a pitcher loses his concentration. Neither lineup has easy outs. And Philadelphia adds another level of concern because of its speed.

"The makeup and the way they've built the team in Philly, they have speed guys that can hit for average at the top of the order," Hendrickson said, referring to the likes of Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. "Ask any guy in a big league lineup, and they'll tell you those guys give you more problems than the big boppers. When they get on base they can cause trouble. And this year they have four guys (behind them) who can hit the ball out of any part of a ballpark."

But the advantage may come on the mound. The Yankees will hand the ball to 6-foot-7 southpaw ace C.C. Sabathia for the opening game.

"The way C.C. pitches -- from what I've seen and heard -- hitters don't pick up the ball because he's so big and throwing the ball so hard," Hendrickson said. "With A.J. (Burnett), it's a little bit of a consistency thing. But when he's on, guys say he's as good as anyone."; 771-2025