The annual series for bragging rights in New York begins tonight when the Mets battle the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers have lived up to their nickname lately scoring 20 runs during their recent three game winning streak. Can they keep it up against a Mets team that has not allowed a run in its last two games?
After starting their season 5-13, the New York Mets are back to at least relevancy in the city. They have won 16 of their last 25 games to get within a game of .500. Terry Collins’ team has been ravaged with injuries to key offensive players such as 3B David Wright, 1B Ike Davis, and CF Angel Pagan. However, in their place, the young players have stepped up as well as players trying to make a good impression on potentially another team whether it is Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, or Francisco Rodriguez.
The pitching matchups for this series are:
Friday, 7:05, My9: R.A. Dickey (1-5, 5.08 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (2-3, 3.22 ERA)
Saturday, 7:10, FOX: Chris Capuano (3-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (4-3, 3.99 ERA)
Sunday, 1:05, YES: Mike Pelfrey (3-3, 5.11 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.33 ERA)
Keys to Watch Out For
1. Justin is Turning It Up: Has New York found its third baseman of the future? Probably not, but they have a nice short-term replacement. 26-year-old rookie Justin Turner has flourished at Wright’s position over the past two weeks, giving the dugout different energy than what they had at the beginning of the season. He is hitting .333 in 18 games and has 10 RBI’s in his last five games. Nevertheless, he is not the talk of Flushing for his recent six-game hitting streak, but rather his rocket red hair color. Even if Jason Bay is struggling, Turner could be the one that gets a clutch hit for the Mets late in games this series.
2. Jose! Jose, Jose, Jose: I figured since there are many people at Citi Field chanting that phrase these days, I would name that as one of my keys. The Mets’ energetic shortstop has seemed to find his energy in the midst of the final year of his contract. Reyes is hitting .317 and is ranked among the best in the National League in hits with 59 and stolen bases with 16. If the Yankees allow Reyes to get on base, it will more than often lead to surrendering key runs.
3. Sandy’s Bargain Basement Bullpen: With the Bernie Madoff scandal hurting the Mets’ money plans as well as their spending on players, new GM Sandy Alderson had to find a creative way to re-construct the bullpen with very little finances. In addition, he had to figure out how to replaces the losses of “abused” lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi. So far, Alderson has looked good in the eyes of Mets’ fans. He got rid of clubhouse cancers Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo and he has put together a nice bullpen.
The journeyman pitchers the Mets have brought in and put into key roles have flourished in orange and blue. Taylor Buchholz and former Mets’ prospect Jason Isringhausen both have ERA’s under 2 (1.66 and 1.93 respectively). Even, K-Rod is back to being the closer he once was in Los Angeles. He has a 0.83 ERA and is second in the National League with 14 saves in 15 chances.
After a great road trip that the Yankees absolutely needed to get on track, the Bombers should be able to win two games in this series. R.A Dickey has not won a game since his first start of the year and Chris Capuano has been hit or miss for the boys in Queens this season. That being said, Freddy Garcia has given up at least four runs in 3 of his last 4 starts and A.J Burnett had a little problem finishing off his last start in Tampa. For one of the rare times this season, the Yankees’ offense might have to carry them this weekend. I think the Mets will find a way to win on Sunday because Mike Pelfrey has pitched well against the Yanks in his career (2-2, 4.35) and in his last three starts in 2011 (2-0, 2.11 ERA).
YANKEES WIN 2 OF 3!!!