A meaningful Subway Series! It’s been a few years since we have had one of these. It’s June 8 and the Yankees are sitting at 31-25 and the Mets at 32-26. I just checked my calendar, and no, it’s not 2006.
This weekend we’ll get to see No-han Santana against Coin Flip Kuroda (who will get to return to his NL roots and hopefully dominate like he did there), the Battle of Potential between Dillon Gee and Phil Hughes on Saturday night (Joe Buck and Tim McCarver can’t be happy with that pitching matchup) and the Young Lefty vs. Old Lefty matchup of Jonathon Niese and Andy Pettitte on Sunday afternoon.
I love the Subway Series and because of it here are the storylines that interest me this weekend at the Stadium.
No Initials This Weekend
We won’t get to see CC or R.A. this weekend, but with the way the two are going, it’s probably better for the Yankees that they are missing the Mets’ initials rather than the Mets missing the Yankees’ initials.
As a Yankees fan and non-Mets fan, it’s hard to find Mets to like, but I love R.A. Dickey. The guy is a strike-throwing machine (to steal a line from John Sterling) and the kind of guy that you want on your team, and he has become one of my annual fantasy baseball favorite draft picks.
It seems like everyone is always waiting for the 37-year-old knuckleballer to return to being his former self before his reinvention, but I think he has proven this isn’t the kind of smoke-and-mirrors act that Freddy Garcia used for the Yankees last year. Dickey is the real deal and he’s proving it every time out with his scoreless innings streak now at 24 2/3 innings. Dickey made $2.25 million last year and will make $4.25 million this year with the Mets holding a $5 million club option on him for 2013. He is the best bargain in Major League Baseball, and he’s only making $250,000 more than Garcia this year. I will now give you a minute to think about that.
After another eight scoreless innings against the Nationals on Thursday, Dickey is now 9-1 with a 2.44 ERA. In two-plus seasons and 72 games (70 starts) with the Mets, he’s 28-23 with a 2.97. 28 wins with a 2.97 ERA! Could you imagine what his record would be if he had pitched the last two seasons for a winning team? Last season alone Dickey made eight starts in which he pitched seven innings or more and allowed two earned runs or less and earned a no-decision or a loss.
I’m happy the Yankees missed Dickey by a day (they weren’t lucky enough to also miss Santana) since it seems like the Yankees always get the other team’s best pitchers to fall every series whether it’s Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander or Jered Weaver. But part of me wanted to see what Dickey could do against the Yankees in what is turning out be his best season.
No-han Santana’s Left Shoulder
I was out to eat last Friday night (Katy Perry), but the restaurant had the Yankees on the big screen, so I was able to watch the Yankees-Tigers game. I found out via Twitter that Johan was throwing a no-hitter in the eighth inning and started paying attention to the Mets game just as Santana got the last out of the eighth.
My Twitter feed was debating whether or not Terry Collins would let Santana return for the ninth inning and go for Mets history or whether he would turn to the bullpen as a precaution for his ace’s surgically repaired left shoulder. Here were my initial thoughts.
1. Forget Jason Bay or Oliver Perez. If Collins pulls Santana he will become the most hated man for Mets fans. Santana and the Mets might not ever be in this spot again. It took them 50-plus seasons to achieve a no-hitter. Who’s to say it won’t take another 50?
2. I understand Collins is managing for his job and a contract past this season. I know he believes that the Mets can reach the playoffs, and maybe they can, but if you believe getting three more outs from your ace in an historical setting could lead to injury and ruin your playoff chances then you probably aren’t going to the playoffs. How could you starve a fan base searching for some sort of moment or success to be proud about given everything that has happened with the franchise over an extra 12-15 pitches?
Collins made the right choice, however, in his postgame press conference he admitted that he thought he made the wrong decision. (Is this real life?)
Santana will pitch on Friday night at the Stadium for the first time in a week since the no-hitter and the 134 pitches. Johan hasn’t pitched well in two starts in the new Stadium (0-2, 9 IP, 17 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 13.00 ERA), but if he struggles on Friday, Terry Collins will have to answer for the previous Friday even if he’s healthy.
Subway Series Protestors
I should have spent this time writing about why the Subway Series sucks now and why the players don’t care about facing each other and why it’s not the same as it used to be since that seems to be the cool thing to do these days. But I love the Subway Series, and I think its current format is perfect. So why ruin a good thing?
I don’t get why people don’t like the Subway Series or why they would rather see more division games over interleague play. Do I really need to see the Blue Jays and Orioles more? Have I not had enough of Brian Matusz and Kyle Drabek? Can’t I see Johan Santana and Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto? I would understand if you’re Chien-Ming Wang and you hate interleague play, but for so many people to despise it just doesn’t make sense.
The only problem I have with interleague play is that it’s 2012 and the NL is still having pitchers hit. It’s not the “pure form baseball.” It’s nonsensical to have guys who haven’t used a bat since high school facing Major League pitching. But hey, what are a few extra outs to give up anyway?
The King of the City
Yankees fans have nothing to gain (other than wins for their team which is the most important possible thing and being able to laugh at the Mets fans, which I guess is a lot) and everything to lose in the Subway Series. If the Yankees win or sweep the weekend series then they are supposed to because they’re the Yankees. But if the Mets win or sweep the weekend series then I might have to go off the grid until the second part of the Subway Series at Citi Field. Winning and losing each part of the Subway Series has two extreme possibilities for Yankees fans, and I like it that way. I like that the Yankees are the King of the City and will always be.