This year’s second three-game Subway Series has all New York talking. This is the first Subway Series staged in September with both teams in pennant races. The Yankees are the underdog for the first time in a long time and need the wins much more than the Mets. I checked for available seats for Sunday’s final game and found less than 10 seats available with all of them costing over 200 dollars. Over 125,000 fans will be at Citi Field to watch the three games. With the Mets’ three power-arms of Matz, Syndergaard and Harvey scheduled to pitch in the series, as a life-long Yankee fan, I expected the Yankees to lose two or maybe all three games.
The Mets pitching along with their newly explosive offensive attack and the absence of Teixeira and A-Rod from the Yankee offense led me to my pessimistic thoughts. Before the series began the Yankees trailed the Blue Jays by three games in the loss column. At the same time as the Mets and Yankees clash the Blue Jays would meet the Red Sox in a three-game series. Following these two series the Yankees would square off against the Blue Jays in their final three-game meeting for this year. For the Yankees to keep their slim hopes alive to overtake the Blue Jays it was imperative that they stayed within three games in the loss column.
The result of game 1 was a Mets 5-1 victory. Tanaka made two bad pitches which led to home runs by Duda and Murphy. Matz pitched five scoreless innings and at the end of the night the Yankees were 4.5 games behind the Blue Jays. At this point I felt the door was now closed and the Yankees are destined to appear in the one-game Wild Card game. Game 2 started off with a bang supplied by Carlos Beltran when he followed singles by Ellsbury and Gardiner with a home run off a 100 mph Syndergaard fastball. Pineda was at his best leading the Yankees to a 5-0 victory. The final game of the series matched Sabathia against Harvey. Harvey was unhittable for the five innings he was allowed to pitch. Sabathia, after giving up back to back doubles in the first inning, pitched his best game of the year. The score was 1 to 0 until Harvey was removed after only 77 pitches in five innings. The Mets bullpen preceded to detonate which led to a Yankee 11-2 blowout victory. With the Blue Jays losing their final two games to the Red Sox, the Yankees were now only 2.5 games behind the Jays. The stage is now set for their three-game series beginning Monday in Toronto. The Mets after losing two out of three games to the Yankees are still in great shape leading the Nationals by six games.
With Texeira and A-Rod not playing in the series, the veteran ex-Met Beltran was the hitting hero. Beltran’s three-run home run in game-two was the key blow. In game-three Beltran again sparked the Yankees driving in the first two Yankee runs with a double. After giving up two doubles to the Mets first two hitters in the first inning, CC Sabathia was a newly reinvented pitcher. No longer able to throw his fastball at 95 mph, Sabathia used all his pitches to keep the Mets off balance resulting in six excellent innings.
The scheduled pitchers for the three game series with the Blue Jays are Warren, Serverino and Nova for the Yankees and Price, Estrada and Stroman for the Jays. Warren is returning from the bullpen and is expected to throw about 80 pitches, Nova, returning from Tommy John Surgery, has not been good. Clearly, the pitching edge belongs to the Blue Jays. Along with their pitching edge, Toronto also has one of the most potent hitting attacks in baseball. The Yankees need to win at least two of the three games to stay in contention for a division win. Will this happen? I don’t think so.
Finally, assuming both the Mets and Yankees make the playoffs can we maybe see a Yankees versus Mets World Series? Such a World Series between the Yankees and Mets would return baseball to its top spot in New York.