Saturday: Mets 9, Yankees 3. WP: Al Leiter LP: Brad Halsey
Sunday, Game One: Yankees 8, Mets 1. WP: Jose Contreras LP: Steve Trachsel
Sunday, Game Two: Yankees 11, Mets 6. WP: Mike Mussina LP: Matt Ginter
Season Series Standings: Yankees 2, Mets 1
Fun Facts: The Yankees outscored the Mets 22 - 16 during the series, hardly dominance considering that they were just piling the runs on against Ginter and Trachsel. The close run totals don't tell the story at all, considering none of these games were really close... Mussina has now won eight straight decisions. Since his last loss on April 22, Mussina is 8-0 with an ERA of 3.63, which is more like the Moose we all know and love... Not counting Contreras, Halsey became the first Yankee rookie to start more than once in a season since Adrian Hernandez started three times for the 2001 Yankees. Other rookies have had one-start stints, including illustrious names like Christian Parker, Brett Jodie, Jorge DePaula and, of course, Brandon Claussen, who made his only Yankee start against these same Mets... Hideki Matsui likes facing the Mets, or at least he likes facing former Japanese League players. Matsui homered twice during this series, including a grand slam against former Yankee Mike Stanton... Speaking of former Yankees, the following current Mets once took the 4 train instead of the 7: Stanton, Shane Spencer, Karim Garcia, Al Leiter and Todd Zeile. Current Yankees that are former Mets? The only current one is Tony Clark.
What We Saw:
Friday: Lots of rain. Lots and lots of rain.
Saturday: Halsey, who looked sharp in his first career start against the Dodgers, got kicked around a bit in his second go-round. He didn't appear to have command of the strike zone, and walked more batters (5) than he struck out (4), which is never a good thing. Without those walks he wasn't so bad, but ten base runners in just 3 1/3 innings won't get the job done. Al Leiter finally got his third win of the season with a solid effort. Leiter's record doesn't reflect his performance this year at all. He is 3-2, with an ERA of 2.34. That's good for second-best in the NL behind teammate Tom Glavine. Oddly, only five of Leiter's starts have been long enough to count as Quality Starts, but he's allowed more than three runs in a start just once this year. The Mets cranked out 12 hits in this one, including six off of Tanyon Sturtze, whose stock as the next Ramiro Mendoza is sinking. Hey, at least Gary Sheffield is back and swinging a big stick.
Sunday: Game one was all Jose Contreras, all the time. The big Cuban finally looked downright dominant in a start. He had had a few good outings this year, but nothing like this. The right-hander, finally reunited with his family, struck out a career-high 10 Mets. He also walked a career-high four Mets, but three of those came in one inning that he actually managed to work out of. The emotionally-distracted Contreras normally would have crumbled after walking the bases loaded, but Contreras got Kaz Matsui to fly out to end the threat in the fifth. Contreras was forced to leave the game with an arm cramp he said was caused by throwing forkballs, ending his stellar performance. Ah yes, Derek Jeter homered twice during a 3/4 performance and now has 39 RBI on the season. That's the sixth most RBI for a shortstop in the majors. Sheffield homered in his second straight game and Hideki Matsui clubbed a grand slam on the first pitch he saw from Mike Stanton. Not a good day to be Mike Stanton, although he sure is earning that paycheck that Steinbrenner is probably still paying him.
Sunday, part two: Mike Mussina's second start back from a groin injury went better than his first. He made a few bad pitches, two in particular to Richard Hidalgo that traveled an estimated 900 feet combined. But Mussina looked pretty sharp Sunday night. The Yankees got a big inning capped off by a big line drive from Ruben Sierra. He hit the ball so hard that it hit the facing of the mezzanine deck in right field. That deck is recessed about twenty rows, and he hit the ball there on a line drive. Crazy. That capped off a six-run first inning against Ginter, who inexplicably stayed in the game. He did settle down, but left after three innings and a big home run to Miguel Cairo. Cairo's homer proved to be the difference-maker though, because the Mets rallied to score six runs. A four-run Yankee seventh put enough distance between the teams however as Sierra and Cairo tag-teamed the Mets - and Stanton again. Sierra just seems to have hitting outbursts, and they sure are fun to watch. Hidalgo's home runs, by the way, were absolute jacks to the deepest parts of Yankee Stadium (left-center and straightaway center), but the ninth-inning upper-deck job from Eric Valent looked more impressive for some reason.
Next meeting between these two teams: This coming weekend, for a three-game series at Shea Stadium.
On deck for the Yankees: Big, bad Boston comes to town on Tuesday for a three-game series. If you've been paying attention, the only team with a winning record against the Yankees this year is Boston. The Sawx have taken six of seven from the Bombers, including a three-game sweep at the Stadium way back in April. Since that time, the Yanks are the best team in baseball and are proud owners of a 5 1/2 game lead over Boston. But make no mistake, this series is much more important than any Subway Series. Game one will feature Jon Lieber (5-5, 5.26) vs. Derek Lowe (6-6, 5.24).