From the Mets' standpoint, gazing at the stars from down near the gutter, maybe Netherworld Series would be a better title for the upcoming four games against the Yankees.
But maybe the Mets, flailing around in the National League East's fourth place, can benefit from the usual electricity inherent in the so-called Subway Series. "We hope," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're struggling, but when we play the good teams, we play good. I think when we get into that series, the atmosphere changes in the clubhouse, the energy level changes and we'll play better."
Mets captain David Wright cautioned that "you can't start overlooking opponents to get to that series or lose focus of what's going on the series after that. But usually, [the Yankees are] one of the better teams in baseball. So I guess it's a good measuring stick. You know if you beat those guys, you're probably playing pretty quality baseball."
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson does not consider the games a measuring stick, but praised the job by counterpart Brian Cashman and said the first-place Yankees' success "reaffirms the standard to which we aspire."
Collins noted that when the Yankees "have issues, they find people to step up."
Reliever Scott Atchison (elbow inflammation) could be reactivated this week. Reliever Jeurys Familia (biceps tendinitis) likely will be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas when he completes his rehabilitation. Reliever Jenrry Mejia (forearm tendinitis) continues his rehab in Port St. Lucie, while the status of reliever Frank Francisco (elbow) remains uncertain.
During the Subway Series, the Empire State Building will be lit in the winning team's colors for a half-hour after each of the four games.