Mets-Yankees: Breaking Down Round Two of the Subway Series in the Bronx
With the Subway Series rolling back around this weekend, the Yankees will look to avenge a lost series to their crosstown rivals from May.
While the starting pitching matchups might be the same, the venue has changed. The Mets travel to the Bronx this weekend with their seven-game winning streak on the line.
So, after the Mets took two of three last time around at home, what will happen this weekend?
Here’s a position-by-position look to see who has the edge in round two.
Rod Barajas vs. Francisco Cervelli/Jorge Posada
With Posada still banged up a bit, we’ll likely see him as the DH throughout the series, although Alex Rodriguez is also a bit hurt and might share the role with him. Let’s assume Cervelli will see most of the time behind the plate for the Yanks this weekend.
That being said, Barajas, the more experienced of the two, clearly gets the nod as the offensive favorite in this matchup. The Mets backstop is out-slugging Cervelli, .492 to .343. Barajas also has 11 homers, whereas Cervelli has none.
Even if Posada moves behind the plate for the series, that might only hurt the Yankees…defensively, that is. Posada’s inability to throw out runners has been exposed by the Mets in the past, and with Jose Reyes heating up, that weakness could be exploited often with the veteran behind the dish.
Ike Davis vs. Mark Teixeira
While Mets fans might be high and mighty on their rookie first baseman, and while Tex might be off to another slow start, this advantage clearly belongs to the Bronx Bombers.
Davis has been good since being called up from the Minors, and he should have success hitting with the short porch in right field.
But two weeks into June, it’s time for Teixeira’s bat to wake up. He’s batting roughly .230 with only one homer and 21 RBI in his last 100 at-bats. And even though Tex will see two tough lefties this weekend (Hisanori Takahashi and Johan Santana), something tells me to go with him this weekend.
Luis Castillo vs. Robinson Cano
This is a no-brainer. Robinson Cano might be the American League MVP right now, and Luis Castillo is an overpaid, aging, slap hitter who strikes out too much.
Of course, it’s worth noting what happened last year when the Mets traveled to the Bronx. Castillo dropped the final out of the game, allowed Derek Jeter and Teixeira to score, and sent the Mets into a swoon they never recovered from.
David Wright vs. Alex Rodriguez
Providing Jorge Posada hits as the DH this weekend, Alex Rodriguez would move back to third base to oppose David Wright. When looking at each player, A-Rod’s hip isn’t quite 100 percent, and Wright’s offensive numbers are climbing each day.
Rodriguez’s power numbers are down in 2010, with only eight homers so far this season. The .290 average isn’t bad, but it isn’t great, and his two stolen bases are a bit on the lower side too.
Wright, on the other hand, is swinging a good bat right now, recently upping his average to .289. Also on the plus side, his power numbers have returned, having slugged 12 homers already this season (he had 10 all of last season).
Wright is the better fielder of the two, and is putting up better numbers at the plate as well. If Rodriguez is delegated to DH duty all weekend, the Yanks will start Ramiro Pena at the hot corner.
Either way, Wright has the edge.
The Mets will likely head into the Subway Series with an outfield of Jason Bay, Angel Pagan, and Jeff Francour.
The Yankees will most likely go in with Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.
You wouldn’t normally see a Yankees outfield with more speed than the Mets, but that seems to be the case here.
Pagan is probably the hottest hitter of the bunch, hitting .311 with 17 runs, 12 RBI, and nine stolen bases in his last 103 at-bats.
Gardner is among the leaders in stolen bases this season with 22, and is hitting over .300 on the season.
In the end, the Mets defensive presence, anchored by Francour, gives the boys from Flushing the edge.
Do the Mets even have someone who can successfully hit as a DH? The Yankees will probably go with some combination of Posada and Rodriguez, to the Mets’ Chris Carter.
Although he posts better numbers when he fields his position rather than DHing, Posada has done well offensively in 2010, boasting a .290 batting average, and a .400 on base percentage.
Rodriguez, always a threat to launch the ball out of the park, is due for an offensive surge.
On the other hand, the Mets will be satisfied if Carter gets on base a few times.
Takahashi/Pelfrey/Santana vs. Vazquez/Hughes/Sabathia
The last time these two teams met, we saw the same three pitching matchups. The Mets, at home, took two of three, with the lone loss coming in the first game by a score of 2-1.
The major matchup is Saturday, between Pelfrey and Hughes, each 9-1 on the season. Hughes’s only loss of the season came against the Mets.
Santana has been robbed of some run support, while Sabathia hasn’t been very successful over his last five starts.
Vazquez hasn’t exactly panned out the way the Yanks hoped he would, although he’s been turning it around of late. On the flip side, the Mets have had moderate success, albeit unexpectedly, with Takahashi on the mound.
The Mets pitching has been hot lately, and they’re going to need to keep it up if they want to win this weekend.
Each team’s bullpen has been solid so far this season, especially the closer roll. Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez have each been solid so far.
Joba Chamberlain has been shaky his last few times out for the Yanks, but the young fireballer is unrivaled by anyone the Mets will bring in for relief. The guys from Flushing don’t have a hard throwing guy to bring in late.
What the Mets do have, however, are guys who haven’t given up many runs. Perhaps the bullpen is better, or just enjoying the benefits of National League lineups.
Either way, talent wise, it’s almost a toss-up at this point, although I’ll lean on the season stats to sway the vote to one side.
(Slight) Advantage: Mets
The two teams are close, very close. The Yankees are currently in first place in the hardest division in baseball, while the Mets, winners of seven straight, are surging towards the top.
The Yanks beat Roy Halladay Tuesday night, then lost the last two they played against the Phillies.
Neither team can afford to lose right now, which should make for a great series.
The deciding factor, in my opinion, is the DH. The Mets pitching will need to make adjustments for an American League lineup that can actually hit (last six games against the lowly Orioles and Indians).
That being said, in a close call, I’ll take the Yanks to win two of three, and split the season series with their cross town rivals.