Photo Credit: Anthony J. Causi / New York Post
Round one of the Subway Series is due up with the teams headed in opposite directions: the Yankees are winners of eight of their last 10 games, including a 3-0 win in 13 innings on Wednesday in Toronto, while the Mets are 2-8 in their last 10 and are riding a six-game losing streak after getting swept by the Cubs and Orioles (two games) at Citi Field. The homestand continues with three against their crosstown rivals. Here is your nine-inning preview:
1st inning – This team is relentless – Credit where credit is due: a former college newspaper writer with me and friend of mine Dylan Moore pointed out that this is “the most relentless offense” he has ever seen. Two things stick out in my mind: the fact that this team just does not give up and that they keep on winning when its easy to get bogged down by the fact that Boston just won’t lose. It can be easy to maybe let the foot off the gas pedal a little bit against a struggling team, but Aaron Boone needs to eliminate that prospect by getting to the starters early.
2nd inning – You like pitching? Enjoy this series – Tanaka vs. deGrom Friday night, German vs. Matz Saturday, Severino vs. Syndergaard on Sunday night. In good news for the Yankees, neither of the top three pitchers for the Mets have thrown their best against the pinstripes: deGrom and Matz have a 4.10 and 7.63 ERA, respectively, in seven combined starts, while Syndergaard’s only start against the Yankees produced a loss when he allowed five runs on seven hits over six innings last season. But the names are enough to think that this series will be a lot of fun on the bump.
3rd inning – Mets struggling in the Citi – While the Blue and Orange may have the home field advantage this weekend, that has not proven to necessarily be an “advantage,” as they have been below .500 (12-19) at Citi Field this season while winning 15 games in 28 tries away from Queens. This is could easly be a second consecutive Yankees sweep if the Mets cannot perform in front of their fans.
4th inning – Expect a Stantonian weekend – Yes, I just took John Sterling’s catchphrase. What can I say? It’s starting to grow on me. Either way, Giancarlo Stanton is in line for a powerful weekend if current trends continue. While entering the weekend on a five-game hitting streak, he has an OPS of over 1.450 against two of the Mets starters he’ll face this weekend: deGrom (1.480) and Matz (1.455). He has six homers and 12 RBI against those two arms as well.
5th inning – Which Yankee bats will show up Friday night? – The Pinstripes have had two types of games against Jacob deGrom: the type where they hit the ball everywhere, or where they don’t at all. There has not been a middle ground against this guy. In the 2015 and 2017 versions of Jake vs. the Yanks, the bats have beaten the arm, combining for 11 runs on 17 hits in 12.1 innings with five homers. 2014 and 2016 yielded different stories, where deGrom allowed one run on eight hits combined over 14 innings, striking out 14 Yankee batters. If the pattern continues, that would mean a dominant outing is in store for the man with a new haircut this season.
6th inning – Offense from unexpected sources continues – It was a safe bet in March that any of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or Gary Sanchez would be listed as the Yankees’ best hitter over a period of time. Well, right now, the argument can be made that they are not even in the Top 3. Right now, the top OPS on the Yankees over the last 28 days come in the form of Austin Romine (1.462), Miguel Andujar (1.108) and Brett Gardner (.960). Do not be shocked if Romine makes his way into the lineup on Friday and Sunday, with his OPS vs. right-handers (1.046) far exceeding his catching counterpart in Sanchez (.684).
7th inning – Bullpen starting to come around – With the struggles of David Robertson and Dellin Betances, this “gauntlet” bullpen was starting to damage its reputation as the season went on. But, even with all of the criticism of how Boone handled Betances in the beginning of the season, they are now starting to come around and Boone has to be given credit where it is due. In his last seven appearances, Robertson has a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings, allowing just six baserunners, while striking out nine. In Betances’ case, he’s had a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings over his last 10 times on the bump. Just two runs allowed on three hits while striking out 18 might show that he is back to being old Betances (for now).
8th inning – The curious case of Masahiro Tanaka – Any pitcher with an ERA of 4.78 would not be considered to be in the Top 5 of any statistical category in the majors, but alas, that is where we find Tanaka in the wins column with seven. While he has not been the ace he has shown the capability of being, he has won five straight decisions and each of his previous three starts. While allowing nine runs in 16.1 innings over his last three starts is nothing to write home about, those outings have been enough to earn wins. That is all that matters now.
9th inning – Severino ready for big-game spotlight – After the Wild Card debacle last season, the questions were being raised of whether or not Luis Severino would be a “big-game” pitcher for the Yankees or not. At least in the regular season, he has debunked that narrative. Recent examples include a complete-game shutout in Houston, striking out 11 in six innings in Boston and most recently, holding those same Astros to just two runs in seven innings with 11 K’s in his last start in the Bronx. Under the Sunday Night lights against another bonafide ace in Noah Syndergaard, the big-game Sevy has a chance to prove he is good for the spotlight.
Extra Innings – This weekend has played host before – Back in 2012, the Yankees and Mets met on this very same weekend, June 8-10, and it was a Pinstripes sweep in the Bronx. The winning pitchers? Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Boone Logan. After a controlling opening victory, Mark Teixeira’s two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth of game two gave New York the win. Omar Quintanilla homered for the Mets in that game (no significance. Really just wanted to write that name). After that, the Yankees won game three on a Russell Martin walk-off homer to counter Ike Davis’ game-tying double in the top half of the ninth.
Follow me on Twitter @lilboon all weekend for updates and analysis on all things Pinstripes.