MLB

Mets vs. Yankees: Five things to know, prediction, how to watch as rivals begin unique Subway Series in Queens

Tuesday night at Citi Field, the New York Mets and New York Yankees will begin the first leg of the 2022 Subway Series. The crosstown rivals will play two games in Queens this week, then two games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx from Aug. 22-23. Could see we these two teams meet again in October? It’s improbable but hardly impossible.

Here are the top of the MLB standings going into Tuesday’s series opener:

  1. Yankees: 66-31
  2. Dodgers: 64-31 (1 GB)
  3. Astros: 64-33 (2 GB)
  4. Mets: 59-37 (6.5 GB)
  5. Braves: 58-40 (8.5 GB)

This week is a Subway Series first. It is the first time ever the Yankees and Mets will meet with both teams in sole possession of first place. Interleague play has been around since 1997 and it’s somehow never happened before.

“There are games, there’s series, there’s things that come up within the course of the year, especially in the long grind of it, that I think are a little shot-in-the-arm series,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the New York Daily News over the weekend. “I think anytime you have that crosstown rivalry, those games, they add a little extra something … I also think where the two teams are this year, I think it’d be really good for New York City.”

Here are the details for this week’s two-game Subway Series. Wednesday’s game can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).

The Yankees have not yet confirmed their starter for Wednesday night but it is expected to be righty Domingo Germán (0-1, 15.00), who allowed five runs in three innings in his season debut last week. He’d been sidelined with a shoulder issue suffered in the offseason. If not Germán, the Yankees could start Jameson Taillon (10-2, 3.93) on normal rest.

Here are five things you need to know about this week’s installment of the Subway Series, with a prediction thrown in for good measure.

1. Subway Series history

The one true Subway Series was the 2000 World Series. The Yankees and Mets met in the Fall Classic that year and the Yankees won the championship in five games. It was their third consecutive World Series title. No team has won back-to-back championships since. The 1998-2000 Yankees remain baseball’s last repeat champs.

As for the regular season Subway Series, the Yankees hold a 76-58 (.567) edge all-time, which is a 92-win pace in a 162-game season. The Mets have had the upper hand in recent years though. They have won four of their last six games against the Yankees and 12 of 22 dating back to 2018. At Citi Field, the Mets have won five of the last seven Subway Series games, including Francisco Lindor’s three-homer game last September.

“Our fans are super passionate. Obviously Yankee fans are passionate. It’s gonna be a hell of an environment,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso told MLB.com. “It’s just two New York teams going at it. Two high-quality baseball teams competing against each other.”  

It should be noted Giancarlo Stanton has 23 career home runs at Citi Field, far and away the most among players who never played for the Mets. Bryce Harper is a distant second with 14. That’s a thing to watch this week.

2. Familiar faces

The Yankees and Mets have some personnel overlap. Most notably, Mets manager Buck Showalter started his coaching career in the Yankees’ minor league system in the 1980s, and he managed the major league team from 1992-95. Although the press release said the two sides parted ways “under amicable terms,” Showalter was essentially fired because they couldn’t agree to a contract and he was not on board with owner George Steinbrenner firing hitting coach Rick Downs.

“I was surprised when I heard that,” Showalter told the Hartford Courant at the time when asked about his departure being labeled amicable. “My wife Angela called me on my car phone after a reporter had called the house and told her of the Yankees’ announcement. She read it to me. I couldn’t believe it.”

Showalter has remained on good terms with the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman — he has appeared at Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium when possible in recent years — though he frequently ribs the organization whenever his team plays the Yankees. I can’t imagine this week will be any different. Also, Mets GM Billy Eppler spent several years in the Yankees’ front office, and was Cashman’s right-hand man before leaving to become Angels GM in 2015.

On the Yankees’ side, third base coach Luis Rojas managed the Mets from 2020-21, and he spent several years on their big-league coaching staff. Rojas began his coaching career in the Mets’ minor-league system in the mid-2000s. Yankees assistant hitting coach Hensley Meulens was Rojas’ bench coach with the Mets in 2000. 

“I’m excited to go back just because of the series itself. Both teams are playing really, really good baseball,” Rojas told the New York Daily News. ” … I mean the experience before for the Subway Series, the atmosphere at the stadium, the fans in New York coming together as one. I can see it as being really, really exciting with the teams playing like they are right now.”

Mets relievers Adam Ottavino and Joely Rodríguez both played for the Yankees in recent years, and hitting coach Eric Chavez was hired away from the Yankees this past offseason, just two weeks after the Yankees named him their assistant hitting coach. Yankees righty Miguel Castro is currently on the injured list. He played for the Mets the last two years and was traded straight up for Rodríguez in spring training. It was a rare Yankees-Mets trade.

3. Neither team has been at their best lately

The Yankees and Mets have two of baseball’s best records this season and they each won their most recent game, though neither is firing on all cylinders right now. In fact, they’ve been decidedly average the last few weeks. To wit:

  • Yankees: 14-13 in their last 27 games, including 5-8 in their last 13 games
  • Mets: 15-14 in their last 29 games

The two New York teams have been playing 500-ish ball for a solid month now. Lulls happen, even to the best teams, and the Mets and Yankees are currently in what can be considered a lull given their seasons to date. It hasn’t cost either team the top spot in its division, though it is something they want to iron out. You can survive a month of .500 play, but not much more than that.

4. Both teams are banged up

Injuries are part of the game and these two clubs are dealing with plenty of injuries. Here are the important players the Yankees will be without for the Subway Series this week:

The Yankees are without their No. 2 starter — Germán took Severino’s rotation spot and could start against the Mets on Wednesday — and arguably their three best relievers not named Clay Holmes. Also, Stanton did not start Saturday or Sunday (the Yankees had an off-day Monday) with a physical issue the team didn’t disclose. He did pinch-hit Saturday, so it can’t be too bad, whatever it is.

Now here are the important players the Mets will not have against the Yankees this series:

  • RHP Jacob deGrom: Stress reaction in shoulder (could return as soon as next week)
  • RHP Trevor May: Stress reaction in arm (expected to return in August)
  • C James McCann: Oblique strain (expected to miss several more weeks)
  • RHP Tylor Megill: Shoulder strain (expected to return in August)

There was some thought deGrom, who has not pitched in an MLB game in over a calendar year, could return to the Mets in time for the Subway Series this week, though that will not be the case. The team will have him make another Triple-A rehab start Wednesday. Imagine deGrom making his first start back against the Yankees? Citi Field would have been electric. Alas.  

5. Who’s hot, who’s not

The baseball season is long and unforgiving, and peaks and valleys come with the territory. As such, several players on both teams are entering the Subway Series riding hot streaks. Here are three Yankees who have swung the bat well the last 15 days (reminder that the All-Star break is included in those 15 days):

Carpenter has been the best out-of-nowhere success story in baseball this season. He hit .176/.313/.291 with the Cardinals the last two years, retooled his swing over the winter, spent a few weeks in Triple-A with the Rangers, then the Yankees signed him off the scrap heap in May and he hasn’t stopped hitting since. Fourteen homers in 35 games with the Yankees, and they’ve even started playing him in the outfield just to get his bat in the lineup (Carpenter hadn’t played the outfield since 2014).

Judge and LeMahieu have been on a rampage the last few weeks, and Judge has eight homers in his last 15 games. His 37 home runs lead baseball and are seven more than any other player. On the flip side, Stanton (.161/.212/.387) and Anthony Rizzo (.184/.340/.263) have been lagging at the plate these last two weeks. Now here are three Mets players who have been at the top of their game the last 15 days:

Marte’s power hasn’t been there lately but you can’t complain about a guy hitting .360. Lindor and Alonso have been anchors in the middle of the Mets’ lineup all season and that has continued to be the case the last two weeks. Mark Canha (.240/.387/.440) deserves a mention here too. All-Star Jeff McNeil (.087/.192/.087) is the most notable Met to slump the last 15 days.

Prediction!

Let’s close with a prediction because I can’t think of a good reason not to. The two-game series allows me to take the easy way out and say these two very good teams will split, and I am going to take the easy way out: it’ll be a split. That said, the potential Germán vs. Scherzer pitching matchup is so incredibly lopsided that I’ll say the Yankees win that game, and the Mets win the other. Germán vs. Scherzer has reverse lock written all over it.



 Source link

Back to top button