Yankees-Mets Preview

Less than a month ago, the New York Yankees were swept by their

fiercest rival and relinquished the AL East lead.

An impressive surge has seen them reclaim that advantage.

The Yankees look to extend their longest winning streak of the

season when they visit the New York Mets in the opener of this

three-game Subway Series on Friday night.

The Yankees (48-31) dropped all three meetings with Boston from

June 7-9, falling two games behind the Red Sox in the division

race.

Winning 15 of 19 has put them 2 1/2 games up in the East, and

they now own the AL’s best record.

The surge continued with Thursday’s 5-0 victory over Milwaukee,

giving the Yankees a five-game winning streak for the first time

since an eight-game run from Aug. 28-Sept. 4.

They’ve outscored opponents 36-11 over the last five games.

Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.26 ERA) attempts to keep his career-high

winning streak going.

The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.71 ERA over his last four

starts. However, Nova struggled through his latest outing while not

getting a decision in Sunday’s 6-4 win over Colorado. He was tagged

for a career-high three homers while allowing four runs in six

innings.

Nova didn’t get a decision in his only meeting with the Mets

(41-40) on May 22, allowing three runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings

of a 9-3 win.

This time, he’ll contend with a Mets team that is hitting .385

with five homers and 54 runs in five games. The Mets had 10 hits in

a 5-2 loss at Detroit on Thursday, as their four-game winning

streak ended.

Jose Reyes has done much of that damage, going 14 for 24 with

nine runs in the past five games. His .352 average ties him with

the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez for tops in baseball and is 61 points

higher than his career mark.

Reyes, though, went 3 for 14 as the Mets dropped two of three to

the Yankees from May 20-22.

“I know they are playing really good – they have a really good

team,” Nova told the Yankees’ official website. “I know I’m going

to have a lot of run support from my teammates, too, so I’ve just

got to keep my team in the game and pitch a good game.”

Alex Rodriguez feasted on Mets pitching in May, going 7 for 13

with seven runs. He’s hitting .440 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 13

interleague games this season.

Mark Teixeira has seen four of his five hits over the past five

games go for homers, including the 300th of his career Thursday.

He’s driven in eight runs in that stretch and is among baseball’s

leaders with 25 homers and 63 RBIs despite a career-low .243

average.

His last four hits versus the Mets have been homers, but all

have come in the Bronx. He’s 4 for 24 with three RBIs in six games

at Citi Field.

The Mets are looking to continue their torrid hitting, and

finding motivation against the Yankees doesn’t seem to be a

problem.

“You’ve got to get up for it,” manager Terry Collins told the

team’s official website. “Everybody gets up for playing the

Yankees, and we need to also. If you’re going to have interleague

play, this is the fun part of interleague play.”

Collins gives the ball to Jonathon Niese (7-6, 3.67) for his

Subway Series debut. Niese experienced a rapid heartbeat while

pitching last weekend, underwent numerous tests, and was given a

heart monitor to wear.

Collins said Niese is “going to be fine.”

The left-hander is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his last six starts.

He allowed two runs while striking out seven in 5 2-3 innings of a

14-5 win at Texas on Saturday.