Series Preview: Mets @ Yankees
Welcome to the first installment of the Subway Series! No matter how the Mets or the Yankees are performing when these two meet, the games are always entertaining. The setting of this match-up between New York’s baseball teams will occur in the Bronx, starting tonight promptly at 7:05pm.
After taking three of four from the Cardinals at Citi Field, the Mets lost two of three to the Nationals, but were able to scratch out a win in yesterday afternoon’s finale. The Amazins are still surprising everyone with their performance thus far in 2012, sitting 1.5 games back out of first place with a 32-26 record. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and are looking to improve upon their 13-14 road record.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have erased their slow start, which seems to happen every year, and have put themselves right in the thick of the divisional race. Despite losing to David Price and the Rays last night, Joe Girardi’s club still took two of three from Tampa Bay. While going 6-4 in their last 10 contests, the Bronx Bombers have found themselves sitting 0.5 games out of first with a 31-25 record.
How they’re performing:
As each week progresses, the Mets have been solidifying the fact that even though they may not hit home runs often (45, 22ndin MLB),
they know how to get men on base and score runs. Their .257 team batting average ranks 13th in baseball, and their ability to get on base is leading them to success (.332 OBP, 6th in MLB). This has led the Amazins to 255 runs scored, which is 9th in the league. David Wright (.362 BA) is leading the offensive charge, getting help from Omar Quintanilla (.308) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.293). However, Lucas Duda has been the man the Mets have turned to for power, as he leads the club with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.
Since Johan Santana’s no-hitter, the pitching has improved drastically. Obviously, Santana (2.38 ERA) and R.A. Dickey (2.44) have been leading the staff, but Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee have been performing well, while Bobby Parnell (2.81), Miguel Batista (3.52), and Frank Francisco (5.55) have been pitching well out of the ‘pen. This change in pace has led to a 4.19 staff ERA, good for 23rd in the league, while their 1.33 WHIP has crept to 20th in baseball.
As usual, the Yankees are one of the best offensive teams in baseball this year. Their .263 team batting average ranks 7th in the MLB and their patience at the plate have earned them a .336 OBP (4th in MLB). The charge has been led by the Captain, Derek Jeter, who leads the team with a .319 batting average. The Yankees are in the top-10 in the league in scoring (263), mostly thanks to their MLB-leading 84 home runs. Curtis Granderson leads the club with 17 bombs, Mark Teixeira is second with 10, and three hitters (Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez, and Alex Rodriguez) are tied with 9 each.
Pitching is what really has allowed the Yankees to get on a nice roll; their 3.96 team ERA is 15th in the league, while their 1.32 WHIP is 17th in baseball. C.C. Sabathia (3.69 ERA) is still at the top, but Andy Pettitte (2.78) has been a huge surprise for the starting rotation. Rafael Soriano has converted all eight of his save opportunities in the absence of Mariano Rivera, while Boone Logan (2.79) and Corey Wade (2.84) have done a good job of keeping this bullpen consistent.
Probable pitching match-ups:
Although Kuroda had a tough start, he’s come on strong as of late, Hughes is coming off the first complete game of his career, and as was said previously, Pettitte has been nothing short of a God-send for Joe Girardi.
Johan Santana (NYM) 3-2, 2.38 ERA vs. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) 4-6, 3.82 ERA
Dillon Gee (NYM) 4-3, 4.48 ERA vs. Phil Hughes (NYY) 5-5, 4.96 ERA
Jonathon Niese (NYM) 4-2, 4.11 ERA vs. Andy Pettitte (NYY) 3-2, 2.78 ERA
This series features two Mets pitchers that are appearing on a week’s worth of rest. Santana is still fresh off of his no-hitter, Gee will be looking to seek revenge from his loss to the Yanks last year, and Niese will appear for the first time since he left last Sunday’s game with an accelerated heartbeat.
Recent head-to-head contests:
Since inter-league play started in 1997, the Mets-Yankees match-up has always been something that has caught the eyes of baseball fans. All-time, the Bronx Bombers have held the edge in their 84 games played against one another, holding a 49-35 edge. While the Yanks have scored 55 more runs than the Mets in their head-to-head meetings all-time, they have done most of their damage at home, leading the Amazins to a 16-26 record in the Bronx, while they’re more evening matched in Queens, posting a 19-23 record.
However, in 2010, even though the Yankees were a better overall team, the two New York ball clubs were evenly matched throughout their season series, splitting the six games amongst them. Coinciding with history, the Mets played better at home than they did “on the road,” taking two of three at home, but dropping two of three at Yankee stadium. Both teams put together one shut out each, while the Mets had the longest win streak of the season series, winning three in a row. C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, and Javier Vazquez all went 1-1 in their two starts. There were no extra inning games, but Francisco Rodriguez (3) and Mariano Rivera (2) combined for five saves overall.
Last year was a different story for the Mets; the Yankees outscored them at a 2:1 rate (29-14) and went 2-4 in the season series, dropping two of three games both at Citi Field and at Yankee Stadium. R.A. Dickey got things off to a great start with a 2-1 win in the first match-up of the year, but the Mets proceeded to lose the next four games in a row before K-Rod secured a win in the season series finale in the lone extra inning game, a 10-inning affair.
If you can’t make this three-game set in the Bronx, but want to watch a Subway Series game in person, the Mets and Yanks will be hooking up again at Citi Field for their last three games in a couple weeks, starting on June 22nd.
What to watch for:
For the Yankees, I’m excited to watch Curtis Granderson hit. He’s become one of the biggest power threats in the Bomber lineup, but he’s so quiet, you would never know he’s there. Also, despite his .290 batting average and 9 home runs, Robinson Cano hasn’t exactly performed the way management thought he would yet. Let’s see if he uses one of the biggest regular season stages to get hot.
In the opposing dugout, it’s time to see if Jason Bay can come back and contribute to a Mets lineup that has done just fine in the six weeks he’s been on the disabled list. He will act as the DH for the next two series (if he’s over the flu) to alleviate the overload of outfielders Terry Collins has to deal with. He has historically played pretty well against the Yankees as a Met and Red Sox, so this could help him get on a roll.
The Subway Series is always fun and interesting, enjoy it..and Let’s go Mets!