Mancuso: Mets Second Fiddle On Friday

On this Friday night the Yankees sent a message to New York that they are not going away as the supreme baseball team in town.  The Subway Series came early this year with  three games in the Bronx, in late April. Though the cross-town rival Mets owned the best record in baseball coming in, the Yankees also had a share of first place in their division.

And by all standards this was an anticipated start of six games between the two teams. The Mets off to this good start and their 11-game winning streak. The Yankees who are supposed to be on the decline returned home off a successful 7-3 road trip. Both teams playing good baseball, and the Mets with the best overall record in baseball made this an intriguing first three games of this annual interleague baseball rivalry.

They said the past few years that this series had no more steam. The Mets struggling and rebuilding were still a few steps behind the Yankees for baseball supremacy in the big city. The Yankees and their failures the past few years gave the Mets and their fans some momentum to take over that supremacy,

But the Yankees, true to what they always do, would not allow the Mets to take over the town and not in their backyard.  It was the Yankees dominating early and taking the first game 6-1. Their six runs in the first three innings quickly took away any buzz that was building with the fans before the game.

Mark Teixeira, an early candidate for player of the year hit two two-run home runs. The first inning and third inning shots went to right field, and his 7th home run and 17th run batted in did more than set the tone. It took out all the steam and momentum the Mets had built during their winning streak, and perfect 10-0 opening season homestand that concluded Thursday afternoon,

“It’s disappointing because we were on a nice roll,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, “and I know the Yankees have been playing very well, but we’re surprised when Jake doesn’t have his good stuff, and tonight he didn’t have it.”

Collins was referring to his starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom. The right-hander tied a career high, giving up the two home runs to Teixeira and one to Jacoby Ellsbury, and he also had his 18.1 inning scoreless streak come to an end.

“I was throwing the ball nice in the bullpen,” deGrom (2-2) explained, “and when I went in the game I don’t know if it was a little adrenaline or something but I was leaving the ball a little up.”  But these are the games that will tell if the Mets are a resilient bunch and that can only be answered the next game,

That next game comes Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. And the Mets have their ace, Matt Harvey on the mound to try and get back on the winning track. Both teams will still have first place in their respective divisions and bragging rights to the city won’t be determined after the finale Sunday evening.

It will be “Harvey Day” in the Bronx Saturday but there will be three more games between them in mid September and those games could have implications  across town at Citi Field in Queens, By then, if both teams are fighting for postseason spots, three crucial games in this interleague rivalry will be more significant than the ones played this weekend in the Bronx.

So for this night the Yankees got bragging rights. Michael Pineda has developed into the pitcher the Yankees expected.. He had the fastball and changeup, and the Mets could do nothing. They knew it was going to be a rough night in the Bronx from the beginning when Pineda struck out the first two he faced as Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares set the tone for Pineda.

Pineda allowed five hits and a run in 7/2-3 innings.  “He matured,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.  On this night, not the best for baseball with a game time temperature of 47 degrees, Pineda had control and the Mets could do nothing. And deGrom will continue to mature and learn from the mistakes of throwing the wrong pitch to an opposing Yankee in the Bronx,

For the moment the Yankees have not surrendered bragging rights to the Mets. They are still the team to surpass as kings of baseball in town event if the records read the 13-4 Mets and the 10-7 Yankees.

NOTES:  Right-hander Hansel Robles of the Mets made his Major League debut and retired three of his four batters. He stranded the bases loaded in the seventh and the first hitter he faced was fellow Dominican Alex Rodriguez.

Through an interpreter, the 24-year old Robles said “I am really happy about it,” about his debut. And about facing fellow Dominican Rodriguez, Robles said, “it was interesting and I really happy facing a player like Alex Rodriguez”

Mets also snapped a four-game winning streak at Yankee Stadium….. Ellsbury had his first home run of the season….

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Mancuso  Twitter @Ring786

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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