Neither the Mets nor the Yankees return to the Big Apple in the best of moods after suffering series’ losses in what has amounted to rivalry week for both teams. The Mets lost series to Philadelphia, giving them six losses in last nine contests. The Yankees were swept in Boston and are 0-8 against the Red Sox in 2009.
Though players typically try and down play the significance of these types of interleague games, the fact is this is New York and they can’t help being caught up in the maelstrom with rabid fans and media descending on them. Both scuffling clubs will bring positives into the Subway Series, as the Metropolitans (31-27, -0.3 units) are 23-8 in road games when playing on Friday since 2007 and the Yanks are 15-3 at home after batting .240 or worse over a 10-game span.
Livan Hernandez (5-1, 3.88 ERA) has experienced a career renaissance this season, being picked up late by the Mets who needed a fifth starter. Pitching at Citi Field has helped the well-traveled veteran right-hander; however he’s performed above average on the road with 3-1 and serviceable 4.07 ERA. Hernandez has been downright awesome in his last three starts, with a 1.66 earned run average, which included complete game and seven shutout innings, thou both were against woeful Washington. He’s been moved up one day since John Maine was placed on DL Thursday, yet at least still had four days between starts. Hernandez is 18-10 (+12.1 Units) against the money line in the first half of the season over the last two seasons. (Team’s Record)
The Yankees (34-26, -2.8 units) counter with Joba Chamberlain (3-1, 3.39), who will not have to face dangerous hitters like Carlos Delgado or Jose Reyes, who are both disabled. The Bronx Bombers have been anything but, losing five of last eight games and scoring 4.2 runs per game in the process. The Yanks are 18-11 in their new home and part of Chamberlain’s job will be to keep the ball in the yard. Balls have been flying over the fence at Coors Field pace. Chamberlain has been about average (which is good at the new Yankee Stadium), surrendering a total of seven homers in his 11 games pitched. New York and the big right-hander are 7-1 in last eight starts at Yankee Stadium.
DiamondSportsbook.com has the home-standing team in the pinstripes as -220 money line favorites with total Un10.5. The Yankees have the best record in baseball in interleague play at 124-89 (.582) and are 45-17 as a favorite of -201 or greater. Watch the total on this one, since the Mets are 11-1 OVER on the road after three or more consecutive home games and the Yankees are 13-2 OVER at home after a one run loss.
Game 1 Edge: Yankees
The middle encounter will be a Fox Sports afternoon affair. At this time, the presumed fill-in starter for the Mets will be Fernanado Nieve, who pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen this season for the Mets after they called him up from Triple-A Buffalo on June 6. Nieve is a hard throwing righty, who has shown proclivity to hit a lot of bats in his major league stints. Most likely, manager Jerry Manual will have to go to bullpen, which has been an issue for the Yankees who are 2-9 vs. an excellent bullpen whose ERA is 3.00 or better this season. Andy Pettitte (6-2, 4.22) will go the Yankees, who’s not found the new ballpark to his liking. More balls fly out to right field and Pettitte’s ERA is 5.40 at home compared to 2.58 on the road. The Yanks are 29-13 when the veteran lefty is a Game 2 starter and they are 8-2 versus their city rival when he takes the hill.
Game 2 Edge: Yankees
Amazingly, this won’t be the Sunday night game, probably because ESPN didn’t want to cut in on NBA Finals action. The series finale expects to be a good pitching matchup with Johan Santana (8-3, 2.39) battling A.J. Burnett (4-3, 4.89). Both pitchers are coming off less than impressive efforts, with Santana tying a career high in allowing four home runs, yet pitched well enough to pick up the win. Burnett was too amped or too strong, walking five and allowing five runs (three earned) in just 2 2/3 innings, in 7-0 loss at Boston. Day games have favored the Yankees who are 13-9 coming into the series, compared to the Mets 8-11 mark.
2009 Record – 2-6