TODAY'S PAPER
51° Good Morning
51° Good Morning
SportsBaseballYankees

Subway Series matchup analysis

Francisco Rodriguez has cooled off while Mariano Rivera

Francisco Rodriguez has cooled off while Mariano Rivera and the Yankees bullpen has remained strong despite injuries. Credit: Newsday.com

We matched up the Mets and Yankees back in May, when the two teams faced off at Yankee Stadium.

That was six weeks ago. Not quite a baseball eternity, but plenty of time for circumstances to change.

So with the Subway Series resuming tomorrow night at Citi Field, let’s reassess our two local clubs and see what could be on tap for this weekend.

Catcher: Russell Martin vs. Josh /

Martin has quieted down considerably after bursting out of the gate, but given the state of catching in the industry, he ranks as one of the better ones out there. Thole has surged offensively in June, however, while Paulino serves as a very good backup.
Edge: Even

First base: Mark Teixeira vs. Lucas Duda/

Teixeira is getting on base less than last year — his OBP has dropped every season as a Yankee — but he’s slugging more, what with his major league-leading home run total of 25. Duda improved in June, yet he still isn’t very good. He could sit for Murphy, if Terry Collins wants to play Justin Turner at third and switch Murphy across the diamond.
Edge: Yankees

Second base: vs. Ruben Tejada/Justin Turner

No, Cano isn’t enjoying as good a 2011 as his 2010. The plate discipline hasn’t been there. Nevertheless, he’s still very good. Tejada actually has a higher OBP than Cano. He has no pop in his bat, however, and his defense has been a slight disappointment. Turner could get a start here.
Edge: Yankees

Shortstop: Eduardo Nuñez vs.

Nuñez reminds us of a younger Reyes, with his unrefined tools. Nuñez has pop, speed and range that the Yankees’ regular shortstop, Derek Jeter, no longer possesses. Of course, Reyes is putting together an MVP-caliber season, so this isn’t a tough call.
Edge: Mets

Third base: vs. /Justin Turner

Murphy was the Mets’ first baseman the last time we did this, and he could go back there; Turner went 3-for-3 against Freddy Garcia, the Yankees’ Sunday starter, on May 20. A-Rod has rebounded nicely, and relatively quietly, from a subpar (for him) 2010.
Edge: Yankees

Leftfield: / vs.

Jones could start tonight against Mets lefty Jon Niese, relegating Gardner to the bench and taking away one of the Yankees’ top weapons. Silly. The Mets’ hot streak has taken the onus off Bay, but he’s still pretty terrible offensively. He’s more of an asset defensively at this point.
Edge: Yankees

Centerfield: vs. Angel Pagan

Pagan is back after missing the first Subway Series with an oblique injury, and he’s doing well enough that, a year ago, he would’ve won this one. Not now, however. Granderson continues to enjoy a breakout season. He’ll start tonight against Niese, which wouldn’t have occurred a year ago.
Edge: Yankees.

Rightfield: vs.

Swisher has surged since the last Subway Series, and moving forward, you’d bet on his youth and athleticism in this matchup. Beltran, however, deserves major props for staying healthy and producing so much. It has been quite a final act in a Mets uniform.
Edge: Mets

Starting pitchers: Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy vs. Jon , and

Nova hasn’t yet fully established himself, Colon will try to reassert the dominance he displayed before going on the disabled list, and Garcia keeps finding ways to win. On the Mets’ side, Niese, Gee and Dickey all have been steady presences, with Gee a pleasant surprise.
Edge: Even

Bullpen

The Mets’ relievers have performed better lately — then again, everyone on the Mets has performed better lately — but their overall numbers are weak. Francisco Rodriguez has cooled off. The Yankees have kept rolling even after the injury losses of Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano.
Edge: Yankees

Bench

In addition to Jones, Joe Girardi has Francisco Cervelli, Chris Dickerson, Ramiro Peña and Jorge Posada at his disposal, with Posada the top pinch-hitting option in big spots. Collins has used his bench liberally, with Scott Hairston, Fernando Martinez and Jason Pridie joining Paulino and Turner.
Edge: Mets

Manager: Joe vs.

Collins continues to impress by keeping his overachieving operation afloat, while Girardi deserves credit for the Yankees’ smooth sailing through a number of injuries and losses to the Red Sox.
Edge: Even

Three keys to the series

Mets matchups.

Collins’ young players don’t have long histories against the Yankees’ starting pitchers, so the manager will have to rely largely on instincts and hunches in deciding who plays at catcher, first base, second and third.

Yankees small ball.

With the pitcher hitting, and the games occurring in the cavern that is Citi Field, the Yankees must remind the world once more that they don’t need home runs to score. They must execute fundamentally, including pitchers’ bunts, and hit with runners in scoring position.

Healthy pitchers.

Niese starts tonight for the Mets after suffering from shortness of breath in his previous start; Colon (strained left hamstring) is returning from the disabled list tomorrow. Both teams believe their men are ready.

Predictions

Friday: Yankees 7, Mets 2. Nova keeps the Mets quiet as Teixeira and Swisher go deep off Niese.Terry CollinsGirardiR.A. DickeyDillon GeeNieseGarciaCarlos BeltranNick SwisherCurtis GrandersonJason BayAndruw JonesBrett GardnerDaniel MurphyAlex RodriguezJose ReyesRobinson CanoMurphyDanielRonny PaulinoThole

Saturday: Yankees 4, Mets 0. Colon returns as if he never left. Gee is a tough-luck loser.

Sunday: Mets 5, Yankees 2. Reyes’ four hits lead the charge against Garcia, with Dickey picking up his second victory over the Yankees this season.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports