Series Preview: Yankees (42-29) @ Mets (33-38)

The heat and energy of the Subway Series has died down over the last year or two, probably due to the lack of any continued drama between Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza, and this year the series doesn't feel as special. Maybe it's the rather plain performances of the teams, or that the Mets are so ravaged by injuries that they're barely recognizable. Either way, the Yankees head into Shea Stadium looking to continue their recent winning ways.

The Yankees have now won three series in a row – taking two from Houston, sweeping St. Louis, and most recently taking a pair from Tampa Bay. The pitching has been decidedly better since Roger Clemens put win number 300 behind him. Each starter with the exception of Jeff Weaver, has posted a victory over the last week. The offense remains spotty, but Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui have been wielding big sticks of late. Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano are both mired in slumps at the top of the order, but Soriano shows signs of coming out of it, including the game-winning hit in the final game against Tampa on Wednesday.

The final game of the Tampa Bay series was rained out on Thursday, despite the weather not being terribly bad. It's been raining for the majority of the time in New York for the last month or so, but it's possible (likely, even) that the Yankees called the TB game early so they would have to time to reset their rotation. If the Yanks had to play on Thursday, Weaver would have been forced to start Sunday against the rival Mets. With no game Thursday, Weaver is pushed back to Monday, certainly making George Steinbrenner a happier boss.

The Mets have been much improved of late as well. Like the Yankees, they haven't lost in three straight series, but they were all on the road. They took two from Texas, a pair from Anaheim and then earned a split with Florida. During that span, the Mets were involved in three one-hit shutouts and they were on the winning end of two of them. Jae Seo has been nothing short of brilliant in his rookie season, and Steve Trachsel tossed one of the one-hitters last week. Jeromy Burnitz is the hot hand for the Mets, hitting .385 over his last seven games with four homeruns and eight RBI. Jose Reyes is also producing a spark for the Mets. Reyes, the top prospect in the Mets' farm system, hit a grand slam on Wednesday to propel the Mets over the Marlins.

The Yankees and Mets have faced each other in ten series since Interleague play started, not counting the 2000 World Series. The Yankees have won eight of the series, but neither team has ever swept. With the pitching matchups being just slightly in the Yankees' favor, they should be able to win two games at Shea.

Yankees Road Record: 22-12
Mets Home Record: 16-16

Pitching Probables:

Friday: Andy Pettitte (6-6, 5.09) vs. Steve Trachsel (5-4, 4.79)
Pettitte continued his season-long Jekyll and Hyde act in his last start, rebounding from a horrible outing against the Cubs to dominate the Cardinals for seven innings and re-even his record. Pettitte has either been brilliant or terrible this season, but he owns solid numbers against the Mets. He is 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA in nine starts against his cross-town rivals. Mo Vaughn, the Met with the best numbers against Pettitte is sidelined for what could be his career. Roger Cedeno bats .333 against the southpaw.
Trachsel had a career outing in his last start, one-hitting the World Champion Angels for nine innings and grabbing the win. Trachsel has been about as inconsistent as Pettitte this season, he allowed seven runs in both of his starts directly before the one-hitter. So when these two pitcher meet up on Friday, who knows what will happen.

Saturday: Mike Mussina (9-4, 2.99) vs. Tom Glavine (5-7, 4.52)
Mussina recently snapped a five-game winless streak and has since put up two straight victories, over the Astros and Cardinals, posting a 2.40 ERA in that time. Mussina is second in the league in strikeouts, behind Clemens, and the Mets are a relatively high strikeout team. The Moose owns a 4-0 record with a 2.60 ERA in five starts against the Mets.
Glavine has been something of a bust for the Mets this season. He's been adequate, but the Mets were looking for an ace. In his last start, against the Marlins, Glavine was ace-like. He threw seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball, but he ran into Dontrelle Willis' one-hitter and suffered a hard-luck loss. Glavine has had success against the Yankees while he was with the Braves. He is 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA against the Bombers in four starts. Todd Zeile has a career .357 batting average against Glavine with four homeruns.

Sunday: David Wells (9-2, 3.40) vs. Jae Seo (5-2, 2.66)
Wells pitched a complete game against the Devil Rays in the night game of a double header in his last start. The Boomer allowed just seven hits and one earned run against the D-Rays to post his third straight winning decision. In four starts against the Mets, Wells is 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA. Like Pettitte, Wells doesn't like facing Vaughn, but he won't have to. Instead, he gets to feast on Roberto Alomar and Cedeno, who have a combined .236 average against him.

Seo has been the Mets' best pitcher all year, and is finally getting the wins to show for it. After going from April 22 to May 25 without a win, Seo has rattled off four straight, and against good opponents. In that time, Seo has defeated Atlanta, Seattle, Texas and Florida. He hasn't allowed more than four earned runs in any of his starts this year and he could easily have nine wins instead of five this year. Seo was forced to leave his last start – in the middle of throwing a one-hitter – with a split fingernail, but it is not expected to be a problem.

Notes: The Yankees placed RHP Antonio Osuna on the 15-day DL with an injured groin. The same injury sidelined Osuna in the beginning of the season. Mike Thurman was called up from AAA to take his place on the roster … Bernie Williams is going to start hitting off of a tee very soon, and could rejoin the Yankees by the All-Star break … IF Rey Sanchez of the Mets will be returning to the team on Saturday. He had been out with an injured thumb. Sanchez's return could mean that Jose Reyes will be sent back down to AAA.

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