When he managed the Yankees, Joe Torre used to talk about stepping on the neck of the opposing team when he sensed it was down. The Mets would appear to have that opportunity in the Subway Series, which starts Monday night at Citi Field.
The Yankees have become derailed. They have lost four straight and have set the wheels in motion for a reconfigured team as Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
What was the best back end of the bullpen in baseball has been decimated by the trades of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. More deals might be on the way, and it could affect the status of Alex Rodriguez, who might be facing the end of his career with the Yankees if they decide to buy out the remainder of his contract.
Terry Collins was asked what it would mean to the Mets now that Chapman and Miller are gone. “Darn it,’’ he said jokingly. “You hear anything about [Dellin] Betances going out?’’
After a second game Tuesday night, the series shifts to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
“You kind of hope maybe they on the other side are feeling down about it, whatever the case may be,’’ Neil Walker said after his three-run home run lifted the Mets to a 6-4 victory over the Rockies on Sunday. “But you certainly can’t assume that. On the flip side, they’re not going to feel bad for the fact that we have two handful of guys that are hurt. [But] if you don’t have to deal with two of the better relievers in the league, that’s always a good thing.’’
Joe Girardi thinks the Yankees could be elevated from the doldrums by playing the Mets. “Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of emotion,” he said. “We’re playing the Mets, and that’s probably a good thing. I think after coming off this, there’s going to be a lot of excitement. Maybe it’ll get us going again.”
CC Sabathia, who will start Monday night against the Mets’ Logan Verrett, said the Yankees’ situation trumps the rivalry. “It’s important for us,’’ he said. “We need to win these games. All the stuff you hear about the Subway Series is for the fans and everybody. It’s just another series we need to win.’’
Steven Matz is scheduled to start Wednesday against Ivan Nova, assuming Nova still is a Yankee.
“I’m getting the opportunity to pitch at Yankees Stadium so I’m pretty excited about that,’’ Matz said. “It’s been a big series my whole life watching it, so I guess it’s just as big playing it. You still have guys replacing the [traded players] that are competing, that are wanting to win just as bad as we want to win. So I don’t necessarily think anything changes like they’re just going to roll over and die. They are a major-league team with major-league players.’’
This will be the first Subway Series for Mets first baseman James Loney. “I don’t know what percentage of fans in New York are for Mets and Yankees,’’ he said. “Either way, it’s going to be intense. For them, those [were] obviously two great arms in their bullpen. I’m sure they’re thinking how far back they are, still thinking they’re in it. They’re going to come out with a positive attitude and want to beat us.’’