The Subway Series is always special. I’ve been reading memories periodically today, reminiscing about much of the great moments between the two teams of the City. New York vs. New York is nearly as old as baseball itself, the city once filled with random teams like the Knickerbockers, Atlantics, and Bushwicks to the foundational team of the Highlanders, Gothams, and Bridegrooms (which would become the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers, respectively).
Once the game was organized and the precursor to MLB formed, the teams remaining in New York were the New York Giants, New York Yankees, and Brooklyn Dodgers. While the Giants and Dodgers faced off frequently, they only met the Yankees during the World Series if the two were the best in their leagues. Which happened a lot (12 times, 1921-1956). After the Dodger and Giants moved to the West Coast in 1957, the need for baseball was filled in New York by the newly formed Mets (in 1962). But the current New York teams didn’t meet in the Series until the legendary one in 2000.
And if you’re a bit of a trivia nerd, in their total history, the Yankees have won 40 AL Pennants, the Giants 23, the Dodgers 22, and the Mets 5. The Dodgers and Yankees have met up for 11 World Series (the Dodgers won 3 times); the Giants met the Yankees 7 times (the Giants won twice); the Yankees won their only Series against the Mets in 2000.
Not that the Mets are having a 2000 kind of year. So while the Yankees are battling to stay atop the AL East, the Mets are struggling to stay afloat in their division. And tonight’s game just reflected both teams’ seasons so far, despite the Mets sending in their best starter.
So for tonight’s opener in Queens, Masahiro Tanaka got the start for the Yankees, threw 75 pitches in his solid 5 innings, gave up just 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 run, and struck out an impressive 8 batters. The Mets’ lone allowed run tonight was a lead-off solo homer in the 1st inning.
Now, the Yankees were held at bay for most of the game, thanks to the Mets’ ace. In fact, they were limited to a walk and a single through 5 innings. In the 6th, with 1 out, Tanaka actually made it to 1st safely on a fielding error. He moved to 2nd on Torres’ single and then to 3rd on Gardner’s walk. So with the bases loaded, Aaron Judge hit a long sacrifice fly and Tanaka sped home to tie up the game.
However, on the run home, Tanaka felt a tightness in both his hamstrings and was pulled from the game. (More below) Holder sailed his way through the 6th inning in 12 pitches. Chad Green gave up 2 singles and still got of the 7th unscathed before Betances’ speedy 9-pitch 8th and Chapman’s scoreless 9th closed out the game.
The Yankees’ batters found another opportunity in the 8th inning, the final inning of the Mets’ ace starter. With 2 outs, Torres singled and then scored with Brett Gardner’s big 2-run home run. Giancarlo Stanton’s 1-out solo home run off the left field wall (above the home run line) in the 9th inning capped off their runs tonight.
Final score: 4-1 Yankees
Injury update: Tanaka’s injury tonight was diagnosed as pulled hamstrings in his legs. This isn’t entirely unexpected, in a way. AL pitchers never have to bat or run bases except in NL-hosted games. So they aren’t used to using those muscles in the same way, so an injury from the activity isn’t ideal but not unexpected.
Now, fortunately, Tanaka’s next start isn’t scheduled until next Thursday against the Rays (in the Bronx). However, with Jordan Montgomery out for the rest of the year due to his Tommy John surgery yesterday, the Yankees will be looking for a new starter for the season. The trade deadline is July 31 (about 7 weeks away), but I expect a deal before then thanks to this recent issue.