1. King of the Hill. Two rookie managers, working roughly nine miles apart from each other, with very different results. The reasons are obvious. Aaron Boone has a stacked, World Series caliber roster and Mickey Callaway, um, doesn’t. This weekend will the first time, however, when the comparisons can be made head-to-head, in real time, from the pregame news conferences to the postgame wrap. Who comes off better? You be the judge.
2. If I can make it there. Giancarlo Stanton may be getting booed in the Bronx with his struggles at Yankee Stadium — .207 BA, .684 OPS, 3.1 PA per K — but he should start feeling much more comfortable the minute he steps into Citi Field. In his 52 games at Citi, Stanton has homered once every 11 plate appearances, with a .962 OPS, so the boos he’ll hear this weekend could be music to his ears.
3. I’ll make a brand-new start of it. The Mets are experiencing an early-season Renaissance for their ultra-hyped rotation, even minus the ejected Dark Knight, and now we’ll get to see just how legitimate their recent success has been. In the past 18 games, the Mets’ rotation has a 2.36 ERA, but the slugging Yankees feature the most punishing lineup in baseball — particularly for lefty Steven Matz, who will get the full force of the heavy-hitting righthanded power.
4. These vagabond shoes. There has been 132 players to play for both the Mets and Yankees, with two of them appearing this weekend — on the opposite side of where they called home a year ago. Neil Walker (186 games in Queens) was more a Met than Todd Frazier (66 games in the Bronx) was a Yankee, but the latter is a local kid who still lives in New Jersey, so Frazier is a hometown favorite at either end of the RFK Bridge. He badly needs to get that pepper mill grinding for the Mets this weekend.
5. Start spreading the news. To the Yankees, this weekend series is another three games on the schedule, a chance to pad their 40-18 record. Boone & Co. are just thrilled to go on a road trip they don’t need to take a plane to get to. For the sinking Mets, however, this could be one of the few chances left to convince an angry fan base not to jump ship before the All-Star break. After an 11-1 start, they’re 16-31, and have lost six straight while scoring a total of seven runs at Citi.