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Mets return home for emotional series with Yankees

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Saturday will feature a remembrance of the 20th anniversary of September 11th.

MLB: Game Two-New York Mets at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets (70-71) return to Citi Field for Round Two of the 2021 Subway Series against the Yankees (78-62). The Mets earned the series win the first time around, taking the first two games before dropping the finale. This will be an emotional series for both clubs, as Saturday’s game will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The Mets return home after dropping two out of three at loanDepot Park against the Marlins, with the two losses coming in excruciating fashion. On Tuesday night, the Mets won 9-4 in a sloppy affair that took just short of four hours to finish. Pete Alonso hit his 100th career home run in the place where he hit his very first, and added number 101 for good measure later in the game. The two clubs combined for six errors, with seven unearned runs being charged to the pitchers. The game was knotted at four into the sixth when New York broke through for three runs, with Francisco Lindor’s two-run single providing some breathing room. Carlos Carrasco picked up his first win as a Met.

The Mets suffered a crushing defeat on Wednesday, losing 2-1 in ten innings. Sandy Alcantara stymied their lineup all evening, striking out a career-high 14 through nine innings while limiting the Mets to four hits. The lone run he gave up was a Michael Conforto solo shot in the seventh. For the Mets, Rich Hill provided another strong outing, with six innings of one-run ball. The game was tied going into the tenth, when the Mets failed to capitalize on the free runner, with a foul ball call on a Javier Báez fly ball down the right field line proving to be a big miss by the umpires. Luis Rojas made some questionable pinch hitting calls, and then made the mother of all head-scratching decisions in the bottom of the tenth. With two outs and a runner on third, the skipper elected to have Edwin Díaz pitch to the raging-hot Bryan De La Cruz instead of walking him to face the much less intimidating Lewin Díaz. The decision proved costly, as De La Cruz came through with his third hit of the night to send the Marlins off as winners.

If Wednesday night was bad, Thursday’s 3-2 loss was somehow even worse. The game started off well, with Javier Báez stealing a run in the first after he doubled with two outs and advanced twice on wild pitches. He then added another run with a bomb of a third inning homer, but that was all the scoring for New York in this one. Marcus Stroman was tremendous through five but let up a run in the sixth and was removed with one out in the seventh. That’s when Brad Hand’s throwing error resulted in the game-tying run, and Jazz Chisholm’s homer off Jeurys Familia in the eighth put the Mets behind for good. New York had Alonso on third with nobody out in the eighth but failed to score, and they went meekly into the Miami night in the ninth.

After their offense awakened over the weekend, it went back to bed in this series. The Mets scored a total of 12 runs across the three games, nine of which came in one night and was largely thanks to a sloppy defensive showing from Miami. The Mets went a combined 1-for-22 with RISP through the series, leaving seven more on base in Thursday’s loss. After averaging 6.75 runs per game between August 28 and September 5 (a stretch in which they went 8-1), the Mets averaged just 3.75 runs-per-game over their last four contests, three of which they dropped. After the Braves took two out of three from the Nationals, the Mets now find themselves five back in the National League East race, with 21 games left to play.

Speaking of struggles, the Yankees enter this series in shambles after getting swept by the Blue Jays at home during the past week. The Bronx Bombers, who held a comfortable lead in the American League Wild Card race after winning 13 games in a row, now find themselves in the second Wild Card spot, with just a half-game separating them from resurgent Toronto. They have dropped nine of their last 11 overall since seeing that winning streak come to an end.

The Yankees made two big moves at the deadline in order to make a push for the postseason. Joey Gallo, who arrived from the Rangers, has had a rough go of it in the Bronx, slashing .133/.302/.320 with six homers, a 78 wRC+, and a -0.2 fWAR in 37 games for the Yankees. Anthony Rizzo, whom the club acquired from the Cubs, has been better, hitting .265/.342/.451 with five home runs, a 118 wRC+, and a 0.5 fWAR in 28 games.

Overall, Aaron Judge continues to carry the load for the Yankees, putting up an MVP-caliber season with 30 homers, 75 runs batted in, a .292/.378/.525 slash line, a team-best 147 wrC+, and a team-leading 4.6 fWAR in 126 games. Giancarlo Stanton has also hit some incredibly impressive home runs this season, as he owns 26 on the year while slashing .268/.358/.485 with a 131 wRC+ and a 2.0 fWAR in 118 games.

Friday, September 10: Jordan Montgomery vs. Tylor Megill, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Montgomery (2021): 135.0 IP, 131 K, 43 BB, 14 HR, 3.47 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 3.5 bWAR

After an uneven first half, Montgomery has put together a really strong second half for the Yankees. The left-hander owns a 1.93 ERA, a 3.45 FIP, and a 1.17 WHIP in eight starts since the All Star Break, and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any outing. In six of those eight, he has given up either one or zero earned runs. In his most recent appearance, he went 4.2 innings and allowed one earned run on six hits, with two walks and five strikeouts against the Orioles on September 4. He picked up the loss back on July 3 against the Mets, giving up three earned runs on six hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

Megill (2021): 70.2 IP, 78 K, 19 BB, 14 HR, 4.20 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 0.8 bWAR

Megill has hit a bit of a rough patch after starting his rookie season out so strongly. In his most recent outing, he did go the distance for the first time in his young career, albeit in a shortened, six inning setting. Still, a complete game is a complete game, and he did well to save the bullpen from further use after an exhausting first game of that doubleheader earlier in the afternoon. Overall, he was charged with four earned runs on seven hits, with one walk and eight strikeouts during the six frames. Once again the long ball bit him, as he surrendered two more homers, with three of the four runs coming via the home run. That now makes it 26 of 34 runs against him on the year coming from homers. Since August 1, he has a 6.37 ERA, a 5.40 FIP, and a 1.39 WHIP in 35.1 innings across seven starts.

Saturday, September 11: Corey Kluber vs. Taijuna Walker, 7:40 p.m. on FOX

Kluber (2021): 61.0 IP, 66 K, 28 BB, 7 HR, 3.69 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR

Kluber will be making his third start since returning from the IL on Saturday night. The veteran right-hander missed all of June and July, and almost all of August with a subscapularis muscle strain in his right shoulder. The Yankees have lost both of those games 8-7, with Kluber allowing five earned runs on five hits over four innings in his return against the Angels, and then two earned runs on four hits over 3.2 innings against the Orioles. He threw 78 pitches in his last outing, so he should at least be able to hit 80 in this one. The highlight of the right-hander’s year came back on May 19, when he tossed a no-hitter against the Rangers.

Walker (2021): 138.2 IP, 129 K, 49 BB, 20 HR, 4.15 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 0.6 bWAR

Walker just did not have it in his last start, and struggled throughout the afternoon against the Nationals. Staked to a four-run lead right in the first inning, Walker couldn’t hold it, and then blew a three-run lead later in the contest. After going at least five in six straight starts, he failed to escape the fifth this time around, instead going 4.1 innings and allowing six earned runs on six hits, with three walks and six strikeouts. He has not earned a win since he faced the Yankees back on July 3. In that outing, he went 5.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. Each of his last six decisions since that point have been losses.

Sunday, September 12: TBD vs. Carlos Carrasco, 8:08 p.m. on ESPN

TBD

The Yankees have not yet named a starting pitcher for Sunday’s series finale against the Mets. This was originally meant to be Gerrit Cole’s spot in the rotation, but he exited his most recent appearance with a hamstring injury. There is a chance he could be well enough to make this start, but the Yankees have not made any decisions yet.

Carrasco (2021): 33.2 IP, 32 K, 6 BB, 7 HR, 5.88 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 1.28 WHIP, -0.6 bWAR

Carrasco’s last start wasn’t pretty by any means, but his defense did him absolutely no favors. Still, he did well enough to earn his first win as a member of the Mets. The right-hander went five innings and gave up four runs (one earned) on a season-high seven hits, with one walk and four strikeouts in five innings. He lasted a season-high 92 pitches, meaning he is no longer on any sort of limit and has stretched out mostly as far as he’s going to go. He also did not give up a home run, which had so badly plagued him in his most recent starts, though the Yankees should present a challenge in that department. On the downside, he did give up another first inning run, which means he has surrendered a run in the first frame in all but one of his starts. Of the 25 runs he has given up in 2021, 12 have come int he first inning.

Prediction: The Mets drop two out three to the Yankees.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Yankees?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    The Mets pick up a big sweep in the Subway Series!
    (11 votes)
  • 22%
    As they did back in June, the Mets take two of three.
    (14 votes)
  • 18%
    The Mets drop two of three to settle for a Subway Series tie in 2021.
    (11 votes)
  • 24%
    The Mets are swept by the Bronx Bombers.
    (15 votes)
  • 16%
    Pizza!
    (10 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now