Series Preview: Mets (34-42) @ Yankees (47-30)

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to round two of the 2003 Subway Series. Round one featured rain with a side order of baseball. The Yankees ended up taking the first and third games of the series behind Andy Pettitte's dazzling performance and Armando Benitez' walkathon. The middle game was delayed due to rain after four innings of play, causing a two-stadium, day-night doubleheader to be scheduled for Saturday. This series will have lots of interesting side plots.

Rookie sensation Jae Weong Seo will finally get his chance to show the Yankees what he can do. The 26-year-old Korean native is fifth in the National League in ERA and hasn't lost a decision since April 27. He will certainly be fun to watch as he takes on David Wells, the man who has walked four batters all season.

The Yankees will call up RHP Brandon Claussen to start the second game on Saturday in Shea Stadium. The double header would have normally caused havoc with the Yankees rotation, and since Sterling Hitchcock is nursing an injury, Claussen got the call. Claussen is the only representative from the Columbus Clippers to be chosen for this year's International League All Star game, and he has the numbers to back that selection up. If he can avoid being traded, Claussen has a future in the Yankees rotation and us lucky fans will have a chance at a sneak preview of that future on Saturday.

Also on the card: can Hideki Matsui continue carrying the team? Can Jason Giambi get his average up over .260? Will Raul Mondesi's sessions with former Yankee great Reggie Jackson continue to pay off? Some other things to look for, particularly in Friday's game, will be Torre's handling of the bullpen. Mariano Rivera has pitched in three consecutive games, and six of the last seven, making him unavailable for Friday. Should the game turn into a save situation, Dan Miceli – who just arrived on the team on Thursday – will be called upon to close.

The Mets, like in last series, have nothing to lose and everything to gain in this series. They always bring their best to the Subway Series, and perhaps the good news about Mike Piazza – he may actually play again in 2003 – will spur them on. The Mets are certainly capable of winning games, as they are young, talented and feisty. They were recently defeated in their last series by the Marlins, two games to one. Whichever way the Subway ends up going, to the Bronx or to Queens, this series will be good.

Yankees Home Record: 20-17
Mets Road Record: 17-22

Pitching Probables:

Friday: Jae Weong Seo (5-2, 2.66) vs. David Wells (9-2, 3.26)

Seo's last start against the Yankees was washed out, so he will go Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The rookie has been the Mets' best starter this season and hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his last six starts. He is currently on a four-game win streak, but he hasn't pitched since last Tuesday when he was pulled from a one-hitter early with a split fingernail.
Wells has been his usual consistent self, and he hasn't lost a start since May 24 against Toronto. Wells pitched on Sunday against the Mets, allowing just one earned run – a homerun to Cliff Floyd – over seven innings without earning a decision. In 107 2/3 innings this season, Wells has issued just four walks, an amazing feat.

Saturday: Jeremy Griffiths (0-0, 7.50) vs. Roger Clemens (7-5, 3.54)
Instead of starting Tom Glavine against Clemens, Mets manager Art Howe decided to start Jeremy Griffiths. Griffiths started Saturday's washout against the Yankees in place of Glavine as well, allowing four runs. But that never officially happened. In his last official appearance, Griffiths went five innings in relief against the Angels, allowing six runs and taking one for the team.
Clemens has been stuck on win 300 for two straight starts, most recently losing to Damian Rolls and the Devil Rays on Monday. Joe Torre decided to use Clemens at Yankee Stadium in the first game of the two-stadium double header, ensuring Clemens wouldn't have to bat in the series.

Saturday: Brandon Claussen (0-0, 0.00) vs. Tom Glavine (5-7, 4.31)
Claussen will be making his major league debut on Saturday night at Shea Stadium, making a spot start for the pitching-injured Yankees. Claussen sports excellent numbers from AAA Columbus, including a 1-0 record and a 1.34 ERA in six starts. Claussen is a control pitcher, having walked just five batters in 40.1 innings pitched and could do some damage in his brief stay in the majors.
Glavine was pushed back a day so he wouldn't be wasted in Saturday's rainout. He missed the first start of his career two weeks ago with an elbow injury but has pitched well since returning, allowing just two runs in 13 innings pitched. That being said, Glavine hasn't won a start since May 18, and since then his ERA has jumped 90 points.

Sunday: Al Leiter (8-4, 5.44) vs. Jeff Weaver (3-6, 5.73)
Leiter came up with the Yankees in 1987 before leaving for Toronto, Florida and finally arriving back in New York. In his career, Leiter has posted a 5-7 record in 17 appearances against the Yanks, with a 3.19 ERA. He also has a save against the Bombers. Leiter has been awful in his last two starts, getting bombed by the Marlins twice in a row. Over those two starts, Leiter has a 10.19 ERA, with 11 walks in 10 2/3 innings. Leiter has walked 57 batters this season, second worst in the NL, a stat that doesn't bode well for him against the patient Yankees.
Weaver hasn't had a quality start (7IP, no more than 3 ER) since May 31 against Detroit and hasn't won since May 15. He pitched decently in his last start against Tampa Bay, allowing only three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, but the bullpen blew it before the Yankees won 10-9. This will be Weaver's first game against the Mets.

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