This year’s Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees has much more at stake than simple bragging rights. The Mets are trying to keep the Atlanta Braves at bay and are nursing a 2 game lead in the NL East while waiting for the return of ace Jacob deGrom. Meanwhile the Yankees have once again been hit by the all too familiar injury bug and are trying to maintain their lead in the AL East without starter Luis Severino, arguably their best bullpen piece this year, Michael King, and recent IL addition, Giancarlo Stanton. In addition to wins and losses, both teams will be using this 2 game set at Citi Field (they’ll meet again for another 2 game series in the Bronx in August) to evaluate their roster needs with the trade deadline a week away. Let’s take a look at last night’s results with a quick preview of tonight’s encounter.
Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo got the Yankees out to 2-0 lead thanks to back to back home runs in the top of the first but Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery was uncharacteristically ineffective in the bottom half of the first giving up 4 runs including home runs from Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar. As a matter of fact in the first inning this season Montgomery in his first 19 starts has given up 6 runs and 4 extra base hits. On Tuesday night alone he gave up 4 runs and 4 extra base hits. Montgomery would only last 2.1 innings, his shortest outing since September of 2020. Meanwhile Mets starter Taijuan Walker buckled down giving up only 3 runs in 6 innings before turning the game over to Adam Ottavino and Edwin Diaz who pitched 3 innings of shutout baseball.
The Yankees had their chances but made some questionable decisions both on the field and in the dugout. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was picked off in the third inning and Anthony Rizzo was caught stealing in the 7th inning. Also in the 4th inning, the Yankees gave Rizzo the green light on a 3-0 count with the bases loaded and 2 outs and Rizzo proceeded to pop out to deep center. After Walker had thrown 7 consecutive balls, taking a pitch may have been a better strategy. Later in the 8th inning, Yankees manager Aaron Boone inexplicably decided to pull Kiner-Falefa who is in the midst of a 13 game hitting streak in favor of Joey Gallo. Yes, the Joey Gallo who has a .161 batting average and over 100 strikeouts in only 80 games of action. Predictably, Edwin Diaz who is one of the best relievers in the game made short work of Gallo and the rest of the game was simply a formality.
As for tonight’s game, the incomparable Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Mets while the Yankees will counter with Domingo German who is making his 2nd start of the year. Without Stanton (who is the most important presence in the Yankees lineup other than Judge) and King to eat up innings, this game should be easy work for the Metropolitans so long as Scherzer can give them 6 solid innings. The Yankees aren’t spiraling just yet, but if they lose tonight Brian Cashman may be forced to look at this team as presently constructed and forced to make a move for another starting pitcher and outfielder. When these 2 teams meet in August things may look different, but for now I’d expect the Mets to sweep this series and be not only the Kings of Queens, but the Kings of New York.