The first Subway Series game is tonight.
Tonight the Mets are in the Bronx to open up the first of six Subway Series games this season. To preview the series, I talked to Rob Abruzzese from Bronx Baseball Daily. Overall, with both teams being over .500, there seems to be an added level of excitement heading into this weekend.
Me: The Yankees seem to be heating up lately. Who have been their MVPs so far this season and why?
Rob: The Yankees biggest problem this season has been their consistency so there isn’t one single player who really stands out as the MVP at this point. A strong case could be made for CC Sabathia as the MVP as he has held the starting rotation together even after a rough start in April. I think it would have to go to Curtis Granderson though. His defense has been spotty at times, but his bat has been consistent and he’s played in every game this season which has been important with Brett Gardner, and to a lesser extent, Nick Swisher both dealing with injuries.
Me: It appears the Yankees have several options for the closer role after Mariano’s injury? Who has been pitching the 8th and 9th as of late, and what level of success have they had?
Rob: David Robertson has become one of the best relievers in baseball in the shadow of Mariano Rivera and he looked primed to take over the closer’s role until an oblique injury put him on the DL. Since then Rafael Soriano has really stepped up and been so good that even when Robertson returns from the DL Soriano will keep the job. The unsung heroes of the ‘pen have been Boone Logan and Cory Wade though. Even though the Yankees have lost both Mo and D-Rob, the bullpen has been a constant strength for them.
Me: Who is slated to pitch against the Mets this weekend and how have their seasons gone so far?
Rob: The Yankees have Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Andy Pettitte on deck to face the Mets and it’s really hard to say what can be expected of them. Kuroda has been brilliant at times and frustrating at others. Hughes couldn’t have been much worse in April, but seems to be rounding into shape finally and he’s coming off the first complete game of his career against the Tigers. Pettitte is almost better than ever though and is really showing everyone that it isn’t about throwing 93 mph for him. That’s why Sunday’s game will be the toughest one of the weekend for the Mets.
Me: Who has been hot lately and who has been slumping recently for the Yankees?
Rob: Mark Teixeira is red hot right now after one of the worst starts to his career. Over the past 14 days he has a .333/.396/.762 line with five home runs. Robinson Cano and Russell Martin have also been pretty hot lately. On the cold end are Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson, who are supporting .302 and .308 OBP’s respectively over the past two weeks.
The one wildcard this weekend is whether or not Brett Gardner can return in time. Right now it’s up in the air, but if he does that will be a big boost to the Yankees. Not so much because he does great things with his bat, but his defense in left is sorely missed and without him the Yankees running game has taken a significant hit. The Yankees have been all about the home run this year and it has almost become a rare occasion that they score without one and Gardner is the best on the team when it comes to manufacturing runs.
It looks like the Subway Series is going to be a fun one this weekend. The best part apart it is that the Mets and Yankees will get together again in a couple of weeks at Citi Field as well.
Big thanks to Rob Abruzzese for participating in the Q&A. You can check out his blog here, he does a great job covering our crosstown rival. Also, you can follow Rob here @RobAbruzzese for commentary and more during the series this weekend.