The Mets and Yankees are headed for their second Subway Series. Here are game-by-game predictions and results
By Cam Giangrande
There’s a buzz in New York. These are heady days for The Big Apple. The two baseball teams are vying for space on the back page of the sports section every day. As of today, the Yankees and Mets would each be in the playoffs. The Yankees would be playing in the wild card game, hosting the Seattle Mariners. The Mets are actually in first place and hold a 1.5 game lead over the surprising Atlanta Braves. If the season ended today, game one would be at Citi Field, in a series against the Chicago Cubs.
About two months ago, I actually predicted a Subway Series. One month into the season, I like my prediction and now will tell you how it will ultimately play out. Ironically, I thought the Yankees would be the team who’d win their division, with the Mets sliding into one of the two wild card spots. I still think the Yankees will overtake the Red Sox, who won’t be able to maintain their .750 winning percentage, (21-7). And considering the Nationals; who should be the Mets main competitors, are in fourth place and scuffling 5.5 games behind, it could be clear sailing for the Mets if Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard stay healthy.
The one Achilles’ heel for the Yankees is supposedly their starting pitching, but Luis Severino is following up his spectacular 2017 with an equally impressive 2018. CC Sabathia is pitching like he’s 10 years younger. He hasn’t lost a decision since August. Masahiro Tanaka keeps his team in every game and is currently 4-2. Sonny Gray hasn’t been vintage Gray, circa his best Oakland days, but on this team, he’s only needed to be the fourth starter. And Jordan Montgomery is one of the best fifth starters in baseball. In fact, their starting rotation is actually better than the Mets’ rotation, one through five.
Realistically, the Yankees will win more games during the regular season, which will give them home field advantage. Leading up to the Series, the Yankees will have a harder time just getting there. They’ll have to go through the defending World Series champion, Houston Astros; who have a formidable rotation and team in their own right. In the National League, many of the pre-season choices are underachieving. As of today, the Nationals, Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, and Giants are all on the outside looking in. The Mets’ pitching won’t be taxed nearly as hard as the Yankees heading into the Series, which will be the second WS meeting between the two teams.
Not sure if this is out there, but this year marks the first time the Mets & Yankees have both recorded nine-game winning streaks in April. Closest was in 2000, when the Mets had a nine-game streak & the Yankees had an eight-game streak. What ended up happening that year?
— Jerry Beach (@JerryBeach73) April 30, 2018
The Mets will ideally be able to set their rotation for game one, which will give them a huge advantage. Game one will pit deGrom against Sabathia. The gameplan for the Mets is obvious, let anyone other than the Yankees big guns beat them, (which is hard considering Aaron Judge bats second, Didi Gregorius bats third, Giancarlo Stanton hits cleanup, and Gary Sanchez hits fifth). And as soon as the lineup goes around for the third time, the starter will come out of the game. Manager Mickey Callaway doesn’t want those bats to see his starters three times in a game.
Righties Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier will do enough damage against Sabathia to get him out of the game early. Although the Yankees middle relievers are fantastic, and will keep the game close, the Mets will prevail in game one, 5-3. Matt Harvey will actually embrace his role in the bullpen and pitch important innings as a bridge to the end of the game.
Game two will have Syndergaard matched up with Severino in an epic duel. Severino will provide seven innings of one-run ball, while Syndergaard’s only blemishes will be giving up solo home runs to Gregorius and Judge. The Yankees bullpen will hold the lead, winning 2-1, and evening the series, heading to Queens.
Game three will pit lefty Steven Matz against Tanaka. Neither starter will last long in this game, which become a slugfest. The Yankees will hit five home runs, two off the bat of Stanton, and two off the bat of Sanchez. The final will be 9-6, and with the Yankees up two games to one, Callaway has to make the hardest decision of the series. Does he decide to start Zack Wheeler, or go back with deGrom on three day’s rest, and subsequently Syndergaard in game five?
He says the circumstance made the decision an easy one. deGrom gets the ball in game four against Sonny Gray. It turns out to be the most important decision of the series. deGrom and the Mets easily win game four, 7-3. The win is important on two levels; it evens the series at two wins each, and getting an early lead, it allows Callaway to take deGrom out early to be ready for a potential game seven.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone decided to pitch his own ace on three day’s rest, and comes back with Severino in game five to face Syndergaard. When asked, he said he could bring him back in a game seven if needed, but if he saved him for game six he wouldn’t be able to. Also he said that Severino gives him the best chance to put the Yankees up 3-2 heading back to the Bronx. The move backfires. Severino looks tired and ragged. He keeps everything up, and the Mets take advantage. Syndergaard isn’t his same self either, but pitches well enough to get the win. The final score is 6-5 and put the Mets one game away from being World Champs.
Not wanting to start Matz on three day’s rest, the manager decided on Wheeler. The Yankees counter with Sabathia on normal rest. He manages to get through five scoreless innings, and passes the baton off to Chad Greene, Dave Robertson, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman. The six pitchers combine to shut the Mets out 5-0, setting up a game seven of an epic World Series.
Back on three day’s rest, deGrom takes the ball for the Mets. Facing him on normal rest is Tanaka. From the very beginning of the game, Callaway employs a small-ball strategy. Leadoff hitter Asdrubal Cabrera walks to start the game. Michael Conforto bunts him to second base, and Yoenis Cespedes drives him home for an early 1-0 lead. After five, the Mets led 3-2.
In the top of the sixth, the Mets knock Tanaka out of the game, scoring two more runs. deGrom comes out to start the sixth, leading 5-2. After striking Stanton out, (to a smattering of boos), he gives up a home run to Sanchez. That is enough for Callaway. deGrom leaves the game after 5.1 innings with a lead of 5-3, passing the ball off to Syndergaard. He is lights out. He manages to pitch 2.2 innings, (on just two day’s rest), without giving up a hit.
Heading into the ninth the score is still 5-3. Boone puts Chapman into the game to hopefully keep it a two-run ball game. Frazier, who always seems to love the moment, hits a bomb into the left field bleachers, making the game 6-3. Pleading his case in the dugout, Syndergaard is overruled and not allowed to go out for the ninth inning. Callaway goes with his closer, Jeurys Familia. He manages to get Judge out, but walks Gregorius, with Stanton heading to the plate. Stanton proceeds to belt a ball to the second deck, in right field; going opposite field. The score is now 6-5.
Sanchez proceeds to get a single, bringing the game; and World Series’ winning run to the plate. Often-injured first baseman, Greg Bird makes his way to the plate. He just misses a fastball, flying out to center fielder Conforto. The Yanks are down to their final out. Boone calls Jacoby Ellsbury’s name to pinch hit for rookie Gleyber Torres. He hits a ground ball that went into shallow right field, into a shift, which third baseman and New Jersey guy Frazier manages to snag and throw Ellsbury out by half a step. It was so close the call needed to be reviewed. The review confirmed the call, and the Mets become World Champions for the first time since 1986.