My history with interleague play has been littered with horrible, gut-wrenching losses, traffic jams in Queens and culminated with a solemn vow to never again set foot inside Shea Stadium. Not because the Yanks played so miserably there (they did), but because a: they serve Pepsi instead of Coke; b: the place is a dump; and c: getting there from N.J. was a complete nightmare.
I’ve lived up to that vow, so I’ll be watching on TV tonight when Andy Pettitte takes the hill against Oliver Perez for the opening game of the three-game set.
I don’t like calling this a “Subway Series” because I think these interleague matchups are a complete joke. The 2000 World Series was the real deal, and no forced meeting is ever going to live up to that.
My feelings for the Mets have run the gamut from pure, unadulterated hatred when they were good and their fans couldn’t help but rub your nose in it (1986–1988) to complete indifference (1989–1999) because they were irrelevant, to mild curiosity when they “challenged” for the title in 2000, to well, I’m not sure how I feel about them today. I guess this series will tell me, to an extent.
Our good friends over at Loge 13 have thrown down the gauntlet with a prediction of a 2–1 series win for the Mets, and reasoning behind the prediction, so here’s our counter:
Tonight: The Yankees need to open this series strong. This is the only game of the three in which the Yanks have a decided advantage on the mound. Anyone who tells you they’d rather have Oliver Perez on the hill than Pettitte can be immediately ignored. I expect A-Rod and Jeter to have big games, and the Yanks will work Perez for walks.
Tomorrow: Tom Glavine is coming off his worst start of the year against the Cubs, but you still have to give the starting pitching edge to the Mets because rookie du jour Darrell Ranser is taking the hill for the Yanks. The Yanks will have to make Glavine work, and he did walk 4 in his last start, so it could be a short outing. I’m going to say the Yanks win a slugfest.
Sunday: There seems to be some disagreement as to who is going to start this game for the Yanks. Either it’s Chien-Ming Wang, the unmitigated ace of the Yanks staff, or Tyler Clippard, against John Maine, who has come back down to Earth in his last two starts after an amazing start. The first two games of the series may dictate who starts on Sunday. Two Yankee wins and Wang probably gets his normal rest and goes against the Sox, a split or two losses and Wang makes the start. Either way, I think the Yanks abuse Maine. He’s walked 6 in a game twice this season, and the Yankees will make him throw strikes. If Wang pitches, this is a Yankee win. If Clippard makes his major league debut in this “charged” atmosphere, I see the Yanks losing a high-scoring affair.
Mitigating factors: Jose Reyes will be in the lineup tonight, after tweaking his hamstring earlier. If he isn’t 100% the Mets offense is much less potent. The fact that it’s about 40 degrees here in New York won’t help Reyes. Bobby Abreu is out of the starting lineup tonight, Jason Giambi will also sit the game out, Phelps gets the start at first. If the Mets go to a righty from the pen, the Yanks will have a couple of serious weapons to use off the bench.
Write it down: The Yanks take the first two games of the series, Wang is pushed out for the Sox series and Clippard gets roughed up on Sunday. 2–1 Yanks. Call me an optimist, I don’t care, I’ve been called much worse.