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Mets (20-19) vs. Yankees (20-22)


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Game Preview

 

Moises Alou has never played at Yankee Stadium, but that's not the point. As much as he wants to see it -- and he does, he certainly does -- Alou has more pressing issues on his mind as his Mets prepare for this weekend's Subway Series.

 

"I'm looking forward to going to Yankee Stadium to win some ballgames," Alou said. "Not just to be a tourist."

 

Come game time, he'll have an opportunity to do both.

 

Don't blame Alou if he snaps a few pictures before Friday night's game, his first at one of baseball's oldest and most historic parks. Given that Yankee Stadium is scheduled to close its doors for good this autumn, the weekend's Subway Series promises to hold a bit more significance for the Mets, many of whom want to see the park one last time.

 

Manager Willie Randolph -- a former Yankees player and coach -- says there's too much hype, and perhaps he's right. These Subway Series games have been going on for a dozen years now, and their novelty, if not their excitement, has slowly begun to fade.

 

Yet when he walks through Yankee Stadium's doors this weekend, even Randolph won't be able to avoid the hype. He knows that he may never step inside the building again.

 

"This is where I started out," Randolph said. "I have a lot of great memories. This is where I grew up, so it's going to be a good weekend. I'm looking forward to going back."

 

So too are his Mets, though for different reasons. Carlos Beltran, for one, said he doesn't care one bit about the hype of the Subway Series, though he's as eager as anyone to play in these games. Coming off three losses in four games to the last-place Nationals at Shea, his Mets need to find momentum -- against the Yankees, or against anyone else.

 

"More importantly," David Wright said, "we need the wins. We're too good of a team to be as inconsistent as we are right now. So hopefully we'll go out there and win a series at Yankee Stadium, and that will give us the momentum to springboard us back into divisional play."

 

That's the goal every year, of course, so the Mets are accustomed to heading into these series by keeping their heads level. Just another game, they say. Just another series.

 

Yet this one certainly holds a little extra significance for all of these Mets -- from Randolph, who spent large chunks of his life in the Bronx, to Alou, who's never played a game there. They all want their one final glimpse of a New York City landmark.

 

Add those sentiments to the regular Subway Series hype -- talented teams playing before packed houses -- and the Mets know precisely how this weekend might be different.

 

"We get excited, too," Jose Reyes said. "It's like we're playing in the World Series. The fans get so excited there."

 

And so too do the players, and the coaches, and anyone else wearing a jersey.

 

"Being a player, I understand how important it is to the city," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's amazing to me. It's kind of like a playoff atmosphere to me because the senses of all the fans, when you're walking someplace, whether they're a Mets fan or a Yankees fan, there's a lot more responses. I think it's enjoyable and I think it's great for the game."

 

Most important to the Yankees, of course, is that primary job of winning. It's a task that they've struggled to do with any consistency, and one that won't become any easier against the Yankees. They're in very much the same situation as the Mets -- accustomed to winning, expecting to win, and simply not finding the ways to do it.

 

Yet the Mets, at least on paper, have a decided advantage in Friday night's opener. Johan Santana, a pitcher the Yankees once envisioned as their own, will start for the Mets, opposite right-hander Darrell Rasner. Santana, for one, will attempt to stop his team's losing streak before it really starts. That's why the Mets paid him $137.5 million this offseason, and why they fully expect to walk into Yankee Stadium and win.

 

"I think Johan is a big-game guy," Randolph said. "I think this is right up his alley. He's competitive. He likes to show off."

 

And what better place to do it than in a packed Yankee Stadium?

 

"I think the adrenaline is going to be higher than any other series," Alou said. "I think we have to take advantage of this opportunity to play well."

 

And, at least for Alou, to snap a few pictures. Though that's not exactly the goal.

 

"I'm not going sight-seeing," Alou said. "I'm going to perform."

 

Interleague by the numbers: 91-90 overall, 8-7 in 2007

 

Record vs. Yankees: 25-35, 3-3 in 2007

 

All-time club Interleague Play leaders

• Batting average: Mike Piazza, .333

• Home runs: Piazza, 28

• RBIs: Piazza, 80

• Wins: Al Leiter, 14

• ERA: John Franco, 1.32

 

2008 Interleague schedule

• May 16-18: at Yankees

• June 13-15: vs. Rangers

• June 17-19: at Angels

• June 23-25: vs. Mariners

• June 27-29: vs. Yankees

Pitching matchup

NYM: LHP Johan Santana (4-2, 3.10 ERA)

Santana allowed 10 hits -- that equaled his career high -- walked one and struck out five in six innings Saturday against the Reds. Despite allergies that bothered him, he threw 116 pitches. His stuff wasn't sharp, but the Mets won for the sixth time in his eight starts, including his five most recent outings. Santana faced -- and beat -- the Yankees once last season, allowing two runs in seven innings.

 

NYY: RHP Darrell Rasner (2-0, 3.00 ERA)

Rasner will make his third start on Friday against the Mets, pitching on an extra day of rest. Sharp in his last start on Saturday at Detroit, Rasner abandoned his changeup in the first inning, but navigated through a tough Tigers lineup by mixing his fastball, curve and cutter. His season ended last May in a start against the Mets, when Endy Chavez broke Rasner's right index finger with a first-inning comebacker at Shea Stadium.

Tidbits

Billy Wagner lashed out at his teammates after Thursday's loss to the Nationals, calling it "stunning" that some of them did not stick around to talk to the media. ... Though the Yankees and Mets have split 30 Interleague games at Shea, the Mets are 10-20 at Yankee Stadium. ... Two Yankees left-handed batters, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, have combined for 10 hits in 24 career at-bats off the lefty Santana.

 

 

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LOL, title is great. Two pissed off fan bases. It's is going to be a great series. Yankees sweep this one.

 

 

If the game is played today (it's raining pretty hard near me) I'm thinking Santana will

get rocked and then Hank Steinbrenner will say something stupid like "THAT'S why we didn't

give up our overhyped prospects who cannot go into the fifth inning for him."

 

 

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if Perez could just avoid the brain farts and lack of concentration in that 1 inning he has a chance to have a good game tonight.

 

Espn just told me that Johnny Damon is a 340 hitter in 3-1 counts on days he at a chicken sandwich and the temperature was over 70 degrees, but not less than 52.

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Espn just told me that Johnny Damon is a 340 hitter in 3-1 counts on days he at a chicken sandwich and the temperature was over 70 degrees, but not less than 52.

When they were not talking about basketball :brooding:

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Good for Delgado, but essentially right now we are down 2 runs then what we should have.

 

I just looked up the Yankee Stadium ground rules, and it says any batted ball hitting the foul pole above the fence line is a home run. That ball hit the black part of the pole, which is below the fence line. I think that's why they called it foul.

 

Here's the link.

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