Surging Yankees, slumping Mets open Subway Series
NEW YORK — More often than not, Subway Series games between the New York Yankees and New York Mets serve to remind the teams and their fans just how wide a chasm exists between the Big Apple’s baseball teams.
But even by the standards established over the previous two decades, the Yankees and Mets are traveling in drastically different directions as they prepare for the first Subway Series game of the season Friday night at Citi Field.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA) is scheduled to oppose the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.79 ERA) in the opener of the three-game series.
Both teams were off Thursday following pitching duels on Wednesday, when the Yankees rode 13th-inning homers by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to a 3-0 win over the host Toronto Blue Jays and the Mets fell to the visiting Baltimore Orioles 1-0.
Fueled by a potent lineup and dominant back end of the bullpen, the Yankees (40-18) have won eight of 10 and have endured just two losing streaks — both of the two-game variety — since April 11. While they enter Friday a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, the Bronx Bombers are on pace to win 111 games, which would be the second-most for the franchise since 1900.
And if Wednesday night was any indication, things may get even better for the Yankees. The 13th inning against the Blue Jays marked the first time Judge and Stanton, who combined for 111 homers in winning the AL Rookie of the Year and National League MVP, respectively, last season, homered in the same inning this season.
“I think it’ll happen again, too,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said with a grin. “It’s nice, especially when we haven’t scored, to have a big inning like that where those two guys are central figures. Yeah, I love that.”
There’s not much to love, especially offensively, across town, where the Mets (27-32) have scored just seven runs in losing the first six games of the current homestand. Since an 11-1 start, the Mets are 16-31 — a 107-loss pace over a full season — and have scored two runs or fewer 20 times.
The Mets have been particularly inept on offense over the last 18 games, during which they are 5-13 despite their starting pitchers posting a 2.36 ERA over that span.
“I think guys are (mad), you could see it after the game,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Wednesday. “I felt like the whole game, everybody thought we were going to win the game, and then we don’t.”
The Yankees have done most of the winning in the Subway Series since interleague play began in 1997. The Yankees are 66-46 against the Mets in regular-season action and also beat the Mets in five games in the 2000 World Series.
The Mets have won the Subway Series season series just three times — in 2004 (4-2), 2008 (4-2) and 2013 (4-0), though the teams split eight other times.
Overall since 1997, the Yankees have gone 2,031-1,425 in the regular season while winning four World Series and reaching the playoffs 17 times. Their regular-season record is a whopping 288 games better than the Mets, who have gone 1,745-1,715 while reaching the playoffs five times and losing in the World Series twice.
The recent fates of Tanaka and deGrom symbolize the fortunes of their respective teams.
Tanaka won his third straight start last Saturday, when he gave up four runs over 5 1/3 innings as the Yankees beat the Orioles, 8-5. He has given up nine runs and has a 4.96 ERA during the winning streak.
DeGrom, the NL’s ERA leader, once again didn’t factor into the decision last Saturday, when he gave up one run over seven innings as the Mets fell to the Chicago Cubs, 7-1, in 14 innings. The Mets are 2-6 in deGrom’s last eight starts, a span in which he has allowed three runs in 47 1/3 innings.
Tanaka is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. DeGrom is 1-3 with a 4.10 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
The Bronx edition of the Subway Series is scheduled to take place July 20-22.