Subway Series Preview: New York Yankees Need To Slow Down Streaking Mets

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer IJune 18, 2010

After dropping two of three at home to the Phillies, the Yankees are now just 21-20 against teams with winning records, compared to a staggering 20-5 mark versus losing clubs.

In fact, New York hasn't taken a series from a team with a current above .500 winning percentage, aside from the Twins, since beating the Red Sox on May 7 and 8.

The Bombers have a chance to reverse that trend in the Subway Series this weekend against the Mets, a team that has won seven straight and took two of three from the Yanks at Citi Field last month.

That first inter-league set was a turning point in the Mets' season. Since dropping the opener on May 21, the club has gone 18-5 to pull within a half game of the first-place Braves.

And they've done it with pitching, improving their season ERA to 3.74, the seventh-lowest in baseball. That's not good news for the Bombers, who have scored just four runs over the past two games after lighting up Roy Halladay and Co. for eight on Tuesday.

Let's take a look at this weekend's pitching match-ups, which are the exact same ones as the series in May.

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Friday, June 18 : Javier Vazquez (6-5, 5.43) vs. Hisanori Takahashi (5-2, 3.48)

I'll be at the stadium for this one, buying all the food and drinks for my girlfriend—a Met fan—after losing our bet in the first Subway Series. And in order to have a shot at winning our wager for Round Two, I'll need Vazquez to continue his recent dominance.

The right-hander has won each of his last three starts while posting a 2.57 ERA. He's 2-0 with a 2.08 against the National League—where he flourished last season—including six scoreless innings at Citi Field on May 21.

Vazquez is 10-8 with a 3.24 mark in 24 career starts versus the Mets, and the current roster hits just .238 off him.

Henry Blanco is 4-for-20 (.200), Rod Barajas is 2-for-17 (.118) with six strikeouts, Jose Reyes is 3-for-16 (.188), and Jason Bay, who is dealing with a quad injury, may be wise to take a day off on Friday, as he is 2-for-14 (.143) with six K's against Vazquez. Alex Cora, however, is 8-for-21 (.381).

Takahashi bounced back from two poor starts by holding the struggling Orioles to one run in seven innings during his last outing.

He went pitch-for-pitch with Vazquez on May 21, tossing six shutout frames, but took a no-decision when the bullpen lost it, 2-1.

That was his first start against the Yankees, and he did well versus Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, and Nick Swisher (combined 0-for-8) but gave up doubles to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

Saturday, June 19 : Phil Hughes (9-1, 3.11) vs. Mike Pelfrey (9-1, 2.39)

Might have to get Elias on the phone to find out the last time a pair of 9-1 guys squared off.

Hughes surrendered five runs in 5.2 innings against the Astros on Sunday but still won his fourth consecutive start. That streak started after he yielded four runs over 5.2 innings in his only loss of the season, a 5-3 decision versus the Mets on May 22.

The right-hander has now allowed four runs and 14 baserunners in eight career frames against the Mets, who are hoping Bay is healthy enough to play on Saturday because he is 4-for-9 (.444) with a double off Hughes.

David Wright and Angel Pagan are both 2-for-3, but Barajas, Jeff Francoeur, and Jose Reyes are a combined 0-for-12.

Pelfrey's only defeat came way back on May 1 at Philadelphia, but he's turned in seven out of eight quality starts since then, including a one-run, six-inning victory over Hughes and the Yanks on May 22.

The righty is now 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three lifetime showdowns versus the Bombers and allowed four runs in five innings, but got the win in his only appearance in the Bronx.

A-Rod is 3-for-7 (.429) with two walks off Pelf, but Cano is 2-for-9 (.222), and Derek Jeter is 1-for-6 (.167).

Sunday, June 20: CC Sabathia (7-3, 4.00) vs. Johan Santana (5-3, 3.13)

After going nearly winless in May, Sabathia is undefeated in June, having won all three of his starts with a 3.43 ERA. One of those poor outings last month, however, came at Citi Field on May 23, when he allowed six runs (five earned) on 10 hits in five innings to take a 6-4 loss in the rubber game.

The big lefty is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts against the Mets and is 4-0 with a 3.07 at home this season.

Facing Sabathia, Barajas is 9-for-29 (.409) with three homers and three doubles, and Bay has two dingers in just 11 at-bats (.818 slugging), but Francouer is 2-for-9 (.222) with three strikeouts.

Outside of his 10-run performance in Philly on May 2, Santana has been very good this year, including a victory over Sabathia and the Yanks on May 23, when he yielded just one run in 7.2 innings.

The southpaw is 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 games (nine starts) against the Pinstripes but was knocked around for nine runs over three frames in his only appearance at the new Yankee Stadium last year. He was 3-0 with a 2.05 at the old ballpark.

Jeter kills Santana, to the tune of 13-for-30 (.433) with four doubles and a homer. Cano is 8-for-20 (.400), but Teixeira is just 7-for-30 (.233) with six strikeouts, Rodriguez is 5-for-26 (.192), Swisher is 3-for-17 (.176) with 5 K's, Jorge Posada is 2-for-15 (.133) with six strikeouts, and Curtis Granderson is hitless in 12 at-bats and has been fanned a half-dozen times.

Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com