Even in an empty stadium, a “Subway Series” game can produce some memorable moments.
At least that is how the New York Mets will remember what unfolded Friday in a doubleheader and they hope to keep the good times rolling Saturday afternoon when they face the struggling New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Mets head into Saturday coming off their first doubleheader sweep of the Yankees, who are on their first seven-game skid since June 13-20, 2017. They swept the doubleheader by hitting four homers in the late innings.
In the opener Pete Alonso hit a game-tying homer and Dominic Smith hit the tiebreaking homer to help the Mets get a 6-4 win. In the nightcap, Amed Rosario came up as a pinch hitter and hit the game-winning two-run homer with nobody out in the seventh off Aroldis Chapman to give the Mets a dramatic 4-3 walk-off win.
“Very exciting, these guys fight and out there is the evidence. Both games, these guys stayed in and stayed locked in,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.
The Mets were the home team for Rosario’s homer because it was a makeup game from last weekend’s series in Citi Field that got postponed due to two coronavirus tests on the Mets.
“Just goes to show how weird this season has been,” Smith said.
The Yankees avoided long losing streaks last season when they set a major league record with 30 injured list stints but this year injuries appear to be catching up. The Yankees have 10 players on the IL after Aaron Judge returned there with a calf injury.
During this streak, the Yankees have lost four games by two runs or less while struggling at the plate. During the skid, the Yankees have been outscored 37-19, are batting .197 (39-for-198) with 58 strikeouts and also hitting .122 (5-for-41) with runners in scoring position.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier said. “We feel like we’ve had a couple of games taken from us at the last second but I wouldn’t say that guys aren’t ready to come in here and steal a win tomorrow. We’re still a really good team that’s having some unfortunate things happen the last couple of days.”
If the Yankees lose Saturday, it will be their first eight-game skid since Aug. 19-26, 1995 and they are hoping to see J.A. Happ (1-1, 6.39 ERA) pitch as well as he did in his last start on Aug. 16 against the Boston Red Sox. In his last start, Happ allowed one run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings of a no-decision in a game the Yankees won 9-7.
Happ has pitched once since Aug. 5 and has made just three starts. He also has a $17 million vesting option for next season that is prorated to 10 starts or 61 1/3 innings in a shortened 60-game season and seemed to think his lack of starts could be related to the contract.
“I know I’m healthy and have been healthy and ready to pitch since what would have been (the start of) the regular season and since summer camp and the start of the abbreviated season,” Happ said earlier this week. “I’ve been ready to go in all those cases with no issues.”
The 37-year-old left-hander is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 career games (nine starts) against the Mets and Saturday is his first “Subway Series” start.
The Mets will start Robert Gsellman (0-0, 7.71 ERA), who is still being stretched out as a starting pitcher and will make his third start. Gsellman has a 9.82 ERA (four earned runs, 3 2/3 innings) in his first two outings and last pitched in an 11-4 win at Miami when he allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings while throwing 47 pitches.
Gsellman owns a 1.46 ERA in six career appearances against the Yankees with his lone start against them coming on Aug. 16, 2017, when he allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings and took a no-decision.
–Field Level Media