By Rich Coutinho
» More Columns
After covering years and years of the Subway Series, I can always tell when the encounter has some juice. Yankees fans gets more snarky about the Mets. They’ll downplay the series as an unimportant break in their schedule.
That’s what I’ve been hearing this week.
If you hear Yankees fans tell it, you’ll hear that the Bombers have clearly dominated the Subway Series. Truth be told, the Yankees have taken only one season series from the Mets since 2003. The Mets have won two in that time. Most years the teams end up in an even 3-3 split.
That one and only year since 2003 in which the Yankees took the season series? The Mets’ injury-ravaged 2009 season. Truthfully, both teams have been bit by the injury bug this year. They have received tremendous contributions from guys like Freddie Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Justin Phillips and Dillon Gee. That’s been great to see. All four of those players will be on display this weekend, and it would not surprise me if any one of them has a huge moment sometime in the next three days.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a long way from the heyday of the series, 1998-2000, when the teams played spirited, passionate sets (punctuated by the gutless acts of Roger Clemens).
But there’s something about the series this weekend that has some major juice. Both teams are playing well. The Yankees own their league’s best record. The Mets might just be the most resilient team in their league as evidenced by their 36-27 record since their 5-13 start. Even the absence of Derek Jeter and David Wright won’t take any of the steam away from the showdown. Jose Reyes is healthy and has become brightest star in this town.
In the spacious outfield grass of Citi Field, he may just turn this weekend into The Reyes Show.
Curtis Granderson has carved out a great season in his own right. It will be interesting to see if Citi Field can contain his power-bat along with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. The Mets’ pitchers have been very impressive this past month but the Yankees’ lineup will challenge them, even though they will be playing without the DH.
And what about the Mets’ offense? They have been smoking! And missing A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia will just enhance their chances to continue their early-summer offensive onslaught.
But the most impressive thing about the Mets: their ability to handle MLB’s superstars, especially in the month of June. They faced the Brewers, Rangers and Tigers — all first place teams on the road — and came away with an impressive 6-3 record, winning all three series. Add in the 4 of 6 they took from the Braves this month and it is obvious the Mets shine brighter when the stars are out.
That will be the case this weekend.
The formula has been simple — Reyes gets on, Beltran drives him in, everybody goes to deep counts and they score without the ball leaving the yard. Meanwhile, their starting pitching holds the other team at bay. Their closer has been very consistent in locking down the wins.
Despite the fact the Yankees have the sport’s best closer, they could not more different than the Mets. They slug their way to wins with the long ball, which is fine in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium. But Citi Field will hold many of those wind-blown fly balls that are homers in the Bronx. And without CC or A.J., the Yankees could be in for a long weekend.
As for the Mets, what better way to start the summer than by taking a series from the Yankees? If they do, the Mets could very well be on their way to a “meaningful summer” (to coin a phrase we’ve heard before). That, my friends, is why there’s juice in Queens this weekend.
Are you pumped for the series this weekend? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments below…