The Big Apple. The epicenter of sports in America where 8,000,000 fans bleed their teams colors through thick and thin. The Mets and Yankees facing off this weekend may not be as iconic as the Yankees and the Red Sox or the Mets and the Phillies. However, the Subway Series is a battle that never fails to pump up crowds and sell hot dogs. Whether it’s in the Bronx or at Citi Field in Queens, the showdown between the Yankees and the Mets is one of baseball’s most natural rivalries.
The battle for hometown supremacy has captivated the city since interleague play began in the late 1990s. The rivalry peaked in 2000 when the Mets and Yankees battled it out for New York in the 96th World Series. Although both teams had great seasons it was the Yankees, and World Series MVP Derek Jeter, that shone brighter on the diamond as they bested the Mets 4-1 in the best of 7 series.
Fast forward to 2018 and there is still plenty of fuel in the competitive tank. The beginning of the season looked promising for the Mets, as they bounced back from a particularly poor 2017 season where they finished well under .500 with a 70-92 record. They started off 11-1 in 2018 with new manager Mickey Calloway, whereas the “Bombers”, led by new skipper Aaron Boone, were just 6-6 in their first 12 games. Since then however, the teams have done a complete “180” and the boys from the Bronx have been hot. They won 17 of their 24 games in May, and swept the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros (both were 2017 regular season AL division winners) in each of their 3 game series.
The Yankees now sit atop the AL East with a record of 42-18. Unfortunately for the Mets, their season is not going to plan. After their tremendous start they have hit a major league sized wall and have fallen below .500 too 27-34, which is 8.5 games behind NL East leader and Mets’ rival, the Washington Nationals.
In the first 2 games of this rendition of the Subway series the “Pinstripes” have so far prevailed as the Yankees won back to back games this past Friday and Saturday, with the scores of the games being 4-1 and 4-3 respectively. Just as their season went, the Mets started off strong, taking very early 1st inning leads in both games.
In game 1 of the series, Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo led off for the Mets in the bottom of the first inning. After Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka got ahead on an 0-1 count, Nimmo took the second pitch he saw deep to right field. The young lefty got Citi Field on their feet as his ball cascaded over the Honda Club sign and splashed onto the second deck. After 5 more scoreless innings, the Yankees found their way onto the scoreboard. In the top of the 6th the Yankees had the bases loaded, and Aaron Judge hit a fly ball to right field. Tanaka, helping his own cause, tagged up at third and bounded down the third base line, narrowly avoiding a tag at home plate, and tying the game at 1 run a piece. Mets starting Pitcher Jacob DeGrom had a quality outing only allowing 4 hits and racking up 8 K over 8 innings.
Nonetheless, in the top of of the 8th Inning, DeGrom went to battle with Brett Gardner. With a man on base, the veteran Yankee takes DeGrom’s 95th pitch of the day over the right field fence, giving the Yanks the lead and ultimately the victory. Giancarlo Stanton added insult to injury as he took Paul Sewald deep in the top of the 9th for a solo shot.
Saturday’s game was another quick start for the Metropolitans, as Todd Frazier, newly back from the DL, sent a ball over the wall in the first inning to secure a 1-0 lead. But the Mets were just getting started as Brandon Nimmo, who had already been playing well in the series, rocked a ball down the right field corner for a 1 out triple. With Nimmo on 3rd, the clean-up hitter Asdrubal Cabrera did his job and cleared the bases with a 2 run dinger that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead at the end of the 1st inning.
The Yankees couldn’t get much going on the Mets’ starting pitcher, Steven Matz, until the top of the 3rd. With 1 out and no men on, rookie Glebyr Torres hit a solo home run over the left field wall, breaking open what would be the 1st of 4 Yankee runs. It was a big night for the “baby bombers”, as another young gun, second-year player Miguel Andujar, hit a 2 run homer to tie up the game in the top of the 6th.
Then in the top of the 8th inning, Aaron Judge put an exclamation point on a pitch from Mets right hander, Anthony Swarzak, hammering a ball to left field for the go ahead run that would seal the Mets fate. That was the final scoring play of the game as the Yankees edged out the Mets 4-3 in the home run filled affair.
The Yankees have clearly dominated this series, having had the Mets number over the past 2 days. The 3rd and final game of the series has much promise to be a hard fought battle as 2 of the league’s best take to the mound. Hard throwing right hander, Noah Syndergaard faces Yankees ace Luis Severino in Syndergaard’s first start since returning from the DL. Although both the Yankees and the Mets have hit a number of long balls this series, with ERAs of 3.06 and 2.20 respectively, this might not be a game to look for big hitting, but rather a pitcher’s duel between 2 hard throwing north paws.
The Mets and Yankees face off Sunday June 10th, at 8:08 pm at Citi Field on ESPN.