Who was better — Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays — became a generational argument that, for people of a certain age, persists to this day.
With the interleague series between the Yankees and Mets taking center stage this week, perhaps the Aaron Judge-Michael Conforto comparison will begin to take shape.
Before Saturday’s game against the Red Sox, Judge was asked the loaded question of whom he thinks is better.
“I got to work on that, I’m not much of a scout,’’ he said. “You’re asking the wrong person that question.’’
If there is a burgeoning comparison between the two, Judge said, “I don’t know why there is. Mike, he’s a great player. He’s one of the best hitters I ever played against in the minor leagues. We’ve all seen what he’s done here at the major- league level. It’s really impressive. It’s fun turning on the TV and seeing the highlights of him making plays in the outfield, hitting home runs, doing what he does.’’
Judge is excited about the four-game series against the Mets, saying, “Subway Series, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never experienced it before, so I don’t have anything to base it off of.’’
He expects the fans to be vocal when the series shifts to Citi Field. “That’s part of it. Any other opposing stadium you go to, you get a little hazing from the fans,’’ he said. “That’s why they bought a ticket to the game. To cheer on their team and to boost the opposing team. It’s nothing new.’’
Let the rivalry begin
Todd Frazier and Garrett Cooper also will be playing in the Subway Series for the first time.
“I don’t hate any team. My brother Jeff is a Mets fan. I root against him when the Mets are playing,’’ Frazier joked.
And when the teams meet? “He’s rooting for me, without a doubt,’’ Frazier said. “If he wasn’t, then I would use the hate word towards him.’’
Cooper attended college at Auburn and knows all about rivalries. “Auburn-Alabama [football], that was life and death down there,’’ he said. “I’d never seen so many people that hated each other. Completely despised one another. Grown men.’’
Sale vs. Montgomery in series finale
Chris Sale (14-4, 2.57 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 229 strikeouts in 161 1⁄3 innings), the leading candidate to capture the Cy Young Award in the American League, is scheduled to start for the Red Sox against the Yankees on Sunday night. He has not beaten the Yankees in two starts but has some dazzling numbers.
Sale allowed two earned runs and struck out 10 in eight innings in a 3-0 loss on April 27 at Fenway Park. On July 15, he came away with a no-decision at Fenway despite allowing no runs and three hits and fanning 13 in 7 2⁄3 innings. The Yankees won that game, 4-1, in 16 innings.
Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.05) had a no-decision in a 5-4 loss at Fenway on July 14. He gave up three runs in four innings.