I love the Subway Series. I always have and always will. I don’t care if it’s not what it once was or if it doesn’t have the same appeal now that interleague play happens every day. And I certainly don’t care that Carlos Beltran thinks it’s not the same as it used to be since Carlos Beltran isn’t the same he used to be.
This Subway Series was the first one in a while that had real hype and real meaning given the state of the two teams and their first-place positions. Yankees fans wanted to let the Mets fans know that the city isn’t up for grabs and Mets fans wanted to “invade” Yankee Stadium and let Yankees fans know that the Mets might be relevant for a full season for the first time in seven years.
I decided to go to the diary format that I used for the Yankees-Red Sox series two weeks ago, which I have also used for the Subway Series in the past. Just pretend like you’re reading this in one of those black-and-white Mead composition notebooks.
Last May, Jacob deGrom made his debut in the majors in the Subway Series at Citi Field and pitched seven innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He took the loss in a 1-0 game. On Friday, deGrom made his Yankee Stadium Subway Series debut and pitched five innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts. And oh yeah, three home runs.
I remember in 2012 when Yankees fans complained about the team hitting too many home runs and not being able to string together hits and rallies and manufacture runs. That Yankees team went to the ALCS. The last two years, I haven’t heard any Yankees fan complain about home runs because the team has been unable to hit them, leading to two embarrassing offensive seasons and back-to-back postseason-less seasons. It’s good to have the Bronx Bombers back.
I know Mark Teixeira has been my go-to source for “Ladies and gentlemen” for the last four or so seasons and rightfully so given his admission of breaking down, his horrific production and his long list of injuries and disabled list visits. But so far this season Teixeira has been all we can ask for of him at this point: a power-hitting first baseman, who could care less about hitting for average.
No matter what Teixeira says, he isn’t going to try to go to the other way left-handed or try to beat the shift with a bunt now and then. He’s always going to have one thing on his mind from the left side and that’s trying to reach the short porch in right. If he hits .100 from the left side and .200 overall because of it, he doesn’t care. He’s going to keep on doing it. So far his plan has worked with two home runs against deGrom (and another one on Sunday against Harvey) and after the series he had eight home runs on the year with 18 RBIs in 18 games. Project those numbers out for a full season and that’s 68 home runs and 161 RBIs in 161 games (since he had one game off). Teixeira has a better chance of hitting 68 home runs with 161 RBIs than he does of playing every game the rest of the season, but I just want him to keep hitting home runs and I will forget about him getting out four out of every five at-bats.
There’s not a whole lot to talk about from Saturday’s debacle other than that Matt Harvey was great and CC Sabathia was awful. I expected Harvey, a Yankees fan from New London, Conn., to come out and pitch a great game in his first Stadium audition for his 2019 team and he did just that. He’s an elite pitcher in the league and when you face someone like him, you can be giving up seven earned runs in five innings and think you’re going to win. You can’t even give up three runs in nine innings if you really want a chance of beating him.
Sabathia is now 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA in four starts. Five days after pitching a complete game in Detroit and taking the loss in a 2-1 game, Sabathia returned to his 2013-2014 self and was embarrassed by a bad Mets lineup. I have no idea how the Mets have been able to put together the best record in baseball given their lineup. Even with the greatest team pitching, which they haven’t gotten, no team should be off to the start the Mets are with their lineup, but somehow they are. If CC is going to give us one good performance every four starts this season, it’s going to be a long summer. A very, very long summer.
The rubber game. When I saw the pitching matchups for this series before it started, I expected a split in the first two games and then figured it would come down to Nathan Eovaldi-Jonathon Niese on Sunday Night Baseball, and that’s exactly what happened. Yes, I’m a genius. Now if only I could get that kind of prediction right for a 12-team MLB parlay this week.
So far Brian Cashman’s offseason trades have been disastrous. Didi Gregorius can’t hit or field or run the bases and Shane Greene is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA. Nathan Eovaldi can’t put away hitters with two strikes despite throwing high-90s and close to 100 mph and the Yankees sure could use Martin Prado’s right-handed bat and versatility around the field. (David Phelps is whatever).
It’s hard to watch Eovaldi pitch. (Though it might not be as hard as it is to watch the Mets play defense.) He’s basically Phil Hughes 2.0 with even better stuff, which makes him even more frustrating. How can he not strike anyone out despite throwing so hard, and like Curt Schilling and John Kruk said on ESPN, why is he trying to making his best pitch of each at-bat on the first pitch of each at-bat? He is throwing 0-2 put-away pitches on the first pitch to each hitter. Where is the work Cashman preached that Larry Rothschild would do with him to turn his career around? Eovaldi is 25 and has thrown 481 2/3 innings in the majors. You would think by now he would have figured out how to strike someone out with exceptional velocity, but he hasn’t.
It’s crazy that Eovaldi doesn’t have a strikeout-per-inning this season and it’s even crazier that he has allowed 31 hits in 21 2/3 innings. How are either of those things possible for someone with his talent? How? HOW? H-O-W?
I don’t usually agree with Joe Girardi, but I loved his decision to pull Eovaldi in the fifth inning. It was sort of punishment for not getting through five and nearly blowing a three-run lead. Chasen Shreve came in and did the job and he was followed by Chris Martin and Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, who have become the best 1-2 bullpen in the majors and have shortened Yankees games to seven innings. If the league wants shorter games, forget pitch clocks after commercial breaks and not letting hitters step out of the box if they take a pitch. Just make it a rule that if the Yankees are winning after seven innings then the game is over since it is anyway with Betances and Miller. Here is their combined line for the season: 18.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 11 BB, 31 K. That’s real life.
The Yankees won their third straight series and improved to 8-2 in their last 10 and remain in a tie atop the AL East except with the Rays and not the Red Sox. For another Subway Series, the Mets and their fans were reminded that they are the little brother in this city. And because of that, I will always love the Subway Series.