2015 Subway Series Diary: Citi Field

Carlos Beltran

The most important Subway Series will always be the 2000 World Series, but after that, the three-game series this past weekend At Citi Field might be next on the list. This late in the season with the Yankees trying to pass the Blue Jays and the Mets trying to hold off the Nationals, there hasn’t been a Subway Series holding this much significance with this much at stake in a long, long time.

I decided to go to the diary format that I have used for the Subway Series in the past to look back at this weekend. Like always, just pretend like you’re reading this in one of those black-and-white Mead composition notebooks.

I would have complained about Joe Girardi’s lineup on Friday night, but how can you complain about this lineup when the team has a 10-game lead in the AL East on Sept. 18?

Brett Gardner – CF
Chase Headley – 3B
Carlos Beltran – RF
Chris Young -LF
Greg Bird – 1B
John Ryan Murphy – C
Didi Gregroius – SS
Brendan Ryan – 2B
Masahiro Tanaka – P

With Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury on the bench, that’s $59,142,857 worth of salary for 2015 on the bench for what is a crucial series in order to win the AL East. But that’s Joe Girardi for you. He doesn’t care if it’s April 18 or Sept. 18 or Game 1 of the ALDS, if there’s a left-handed pitcher on the mound, he’s going to tinker with his lineup as much as possible. It’s who he is.

It came as no surprise that this lineup scored one run in the first inning and then magically didn’t score for the rest of the game. It was painful to watch the Yankees load the bases in the ninth inning against Jeurys Familia, thanks to a walk from A-Rod and pinch-hit single from Ellsbury after the two start the game, only to lose because streaky Brett Gardner couldn’t get a hit and Chase Headley struck out, which he seems to do a lot.

The lineup was bad and the game was bad, but was the worst was after the game when Girardi said it was tough without A-Rod and McCann as if they were injured or suspended when it was Girardi’s decision to not play them. Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Girardi!

The Yankees always win on my birthday, so I wasn’t surprised when they won again on my birthday.

But if you watched the game on FOX, you would never have known that the Yankees won the game and lit up Noah Syndergaard. The FOX broadcast just kept saying over and over how great Syndergaard was pitching and if only he hadn’t given up a first-inning, three-run home run to Carlos Beltran and a sixth-inning, two-run home run to Brian McCann then he would have pitched a shutout. Where was this kind of analysis for Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS? If Kevin Brown hadn’t given up a first-inning, two-run home run to David Ortiz and hadn’t loaded the bases before Javier Vazquez gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon then the Yankees would have won the game!

Of course Joe Girardi went to Dellin Betances in the eighth inning of a 5-0 game after having gone to Justin Wilson in the seventh inning with the score the same. And of course he brought in James Pazos to start the ninth to get one out and then brought in Chris Martin thinking he would end the game cleanly only to have to bring in Andrew Miller to close out a 5-0 game with two on and two out as if a three-run home run would hurt them or as if a five-run home run exists.

The Blue Jays lost to the Red Sox on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, so the Yankees deficit in the AL East was down to 3 entering Sunday Night Baseball.

When CC Sabathia gave up back-to-back doubles to start the game, I was thankful for football season starting, so I could always resort to Sunday Night Football if the game got out of hand. Fortunately, it didn’t.

Future (most likely) Yankee Matt Harvey comes to pitch when he goes against the Yankees. After shutting them down in April when he allowed two earned runs over 8 2/3 innings at Yankee Stadium. You know he feels like he is auditioning each time he pitches against the Yankees and with the Mets looking to wrap up the NL East and the Yankees trying to stay in the AL East race, you knew he would come to pitch on national TV in primetime.

When the Yankees went down in order in the first, I thought he might pitch a perfect game. After Chase Headley walked in the second inning, I thought he would pitch a no-hitter. When Brett Gardner singled with two outs in the third, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. However, I figured the Yankees would go the entire game without scoring and blow the opportunity the Blue Jays gave them with back-to-back losses. But then Matt Harvey’s innings limit took over. Sandy Alderson told Buster Olney on ESPN during the fourth inning that the fifth inning would be Harvey’s last and that’s when I knew the Yankees could win the game.

I don’t really understand the Matt Harvey/Scott Boras/Sandy Alderson innings situation. Harvey isn’t a free agent until after the 2018 season, so it’s not like he’s on the brink of a nine-figure contract. He needs to stay healthy for the rest of this season and next season and the season after that and the season after that. I understand that this is his first year following surgery, but there’s no proof that him pitching a certain amount of innings this season or next season or any season is going to be prevent him from re-injuring his elbow the same way there was no way to know he would injure it the first time. But what I don’t get is how the player and his agent aren’t on the same page as the team and clearly haven’t been all season. Did Matt Harvey tell Scott Boras to enforce this limit? Did Scott Boras advise Matt Harvey not to go past the limit? Did Scott Boras change a limit that was already agreed upon with the Mets? Is Matt Harvey really going to shut himself down the way Stephen Strasburg did in 2012, which might have cost the Nationals a championship?

I could care less if Harvey pitches again this season or in the postseason. The only time I will care how often or how much Harvey pitches is if he one day plays for the Yankees. All I care about is the Yankees winning, and for now, Harvey helped them do that on Sunday night by coming out of that game.

ESPN continued to talk about Harvey as if he’s Clayton Kershaw while the Yankees continued to pour it on against the Mets’ bullpen, which will be their downfall in the postseason. Four runs in the sixth, one run in the seventh and five more runs in the eighth and in a game they could barely get a hit in for five innings, the Yankees won 11-2 and won the 2015 Subway Series 4-2.

When I woke up on Monday morning, I expected the city to be different since the Mets had apparently taken it back despite losing both legs of the Subway Series and watching their franchise ace come out of a game after five innings on Sunday Night Baseball. I thought I would get an email or a phone call to let me know the Mets had taken back the city, but I got nothing. The Mets and their fans are still and always will be the little brother.