47,510 people packed into Yankee Stadium on this beautiful April evening in New York to watch the final game against the crosstown rivals Mets. And despite a rather exuberant display of the dreaded wave, it was very much a really New York kind of game.
Flame-throwing Nathan Eovaldi started tonight’s game, throwing a total 87 pitches over his 4.1 innings, giving up 7 hits, 4 runs, and 6 strikeouts. Former Yankee Granderson hit a lead-off solo home run to start the Mets’ scoring. And an RBI double later in that 1st inning, gave the Mets an early 2-run lead. In the 3rd, after 2 strikeouts, Eovaldi gave up a single, an RBI double (with a throwing error), and an RBI double. The Mets scored their only runs, 4 of them, during Eovaldi’s watch.
Now, the Mets really didn’t have that much of a grip on his pitching, but they were able to drive up his pitch count, forcing him out of the game earlier. Now, that may work for some teams to get into weaker bullpens, but the Yankees’ bullpen is rather a compilation of some rather good relievers, complete with the Dynamic Duo of Pitching.
The Yankees dipped into their bullpen in the 5th inning, with Shreve coming on to get the final 2 outs of that inning and 1 batter in the 6th. Martin came on for Shreve the 6th and most of the 7th, allowing Wilson to get the final out of the 7th. And then enter the Dynamic Duo. Dellin Betances’ 8th came with a flawless 3 straight strikeouts in 15 pitches, and then Andrew Miller’s 13-pitch 9th inning for his 7th save (of 7 save opportunities).
The Yankees gave their pitching staff enough run support to counteract some of the earlier weakness. In the 1st, Alex Rodriguez hit a big 2-out solo home run. But it was 2nd inning that really sealed the deal for the Yankees tonight. Murphy on 2nd with a double and 2 outs, Gregorio Petit’s double scored Murphy. Then Brett Gardner’s double scored Petit. Chris Young’s single then scored the speedy Gardner. And Rodriguez’s double scored Young before Rodriguez was tagged out trying to take 3rd on a throwing error.
And to give a bit of a cushion to their 5-4 lead, the Yankees added one more in the 5th. Gardner singled, ended up at 3rd on a fielder’s choice and missed catch error, and then scored on Rodriguez’s rather messy force out.
Final score: 6-4 Yankees, Yankees take the series 2-1 over the Mets.
The Empire State Building has been lit up in the colors of the winning team of this series over the weekend, so Friday night it was blue and white pinstripes, Saturday night was orange and blue. And tonight, the blue and white pinstripes once again shine brightly over Midtown Manhattan.
The Mets-Yankees series always reminds me of countless conversations I’ve had with New Yorkers (and former New Yorkers). Every one has their specific team loyalty, but at the end of the day, they’re all New Yorkers. I know split families that will still go and root for one or the other because it’s still better to root for New York than any other team. My cousin’s husband is a long-time Mets fan, but he loves going to Yankees games. The only time he ever roots against the Yankees is when they play the Mets.
And I can’t say that I don’t do the same some times in my own scenarios. I do have my loyalties to certain New York teams over others, but if that “other” team is say in their respective playoffs, I’ll be rooting for New York.
I can guarantee you the natural ribbing will continue on the subway rides home from the stadium tonight, and slowly fade into talk about other sports teams and just everyday life. Because, like I said before, at the end of the day, they’re still all New Yorkers.