Back in April, back when we were all unsure about how this
season might unfold (and I know I still am), the Yankees and Mets both played
games on the same day in Chicago.
Due to a rare schedule quirk, the Mets were up at Wrigley Field playing the
Cubs while the Yankees were a few miles away at U.S. Cellular Field, taking on
the White Sox.
Peculiar? Yes. Contentious? Not quite.
Now, these clubs are back in the same town on the same day
– but this time, it’s in New York, and this time, these 47-year rivals will be
battling each other. Precisely one week shy of the Fourth of July, fireworks sit
ready to launch in Queens and the Bronx.
This latest doubleheader, the third dual-stadium
doubleheader in this rivalry’s history, came about when a Subway Series game
was rained out back in May. To reschedule without conflict, the Yankees and
Mets decided to play an afternoon game at Yankee Stadium, followed by the
regularly scheduled night game at Shea. And so the city is set for another
bi-borough doubleheader, following similar circumstances in 2000 and 2003.
The Yankees, for history’s sake, swept all four of those
games. And they come into this series in markedly better shape than the Mets,
who last week dismissed their manager and remain a game under .500.
But don’t let any apparent lopsidedness fool you. Probable
pitchers for the Mets include perhaps their hottest starter, Mike Pelfrey, and
easily their most legendary starter, Pedro Martinez. For the Yankees, it’s Dan
Giese and Sidney Ponson, two right-handers who weren’t even on the roster the
last time these two teams met.
So fiddle with the formulas, solve the equations, and try to
figure this Subway Series — one that’s critical for both teams. The Mets need
to find an edge. The Yankees need to keep their edge. And neither team can
afford a sweep.
As for me, I’m jumping on the No. 4 train up to Yankee
Stadium, where Giese and Pelfrey are set to kick things off just after 2 p.m. It’s Friday, it’s summertime and it’s
double the baseball. Tough to argue with a combination like that.