The last time the Subway Series featured a day-night, two-stadium doubleheader, Roger Clemens hit Mike Piazza in the head with a fastball and the New York Yankees walked away with two victories against the Mets.
Things figure to be considerably less eventful this time around—at least for Clemens and Piazza.
With Piazza on the disabled list with a groin injury, Clemens will take the mound for the opener at Yankee Stadium as the New York rivals continue a four-game weekend set. The night game will be played at Shea Stadium.
A rainout last Saturday forced the clubs to schedule this unusual doubleheader. In July 2000, the Yankees swept a day-night affair from the Mets, with the nightcap at Yankee Stadium featuring the infamous beaning of Piazza by Clemens—an incident that still reverberates throughout New York.
Later that year, Clemens fired the splintered end of a broken bat at Piazza in Game 2 of the World Series, and Piazza earned a measure of revenge when he homered off Clemens in a Mets’ victory at Shea last summer.
Piazza, who hasn’t played since mid-May due to a severe groin tear, admitted earlier this week that he misses the “juice” provided by the annual six-game showdown between the crosstown rivals. The perennial All-Star catcher probably won’t be back in action until August at the earliest.
Clemens, enjoying his final big league season, has just one victory in his last six outings—the 300th of his career on June 13 against St. Louis. The six-time AL Cy Young Award-winner probably won’t miss having to deal with the media maelstrom surrounding his relationship—or lack thereof—with Piazza.
The Yankees, who took both games at Shea Stadium last weekend, made it three in a row over the Mets with Friday’s 6-4 triumph. Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi each had two-run doubles and David Wells tossed six innings for his 10th win of the year as the Yankees won their fourth straight overall.
Tony Clark homered for the Mets, who have lost six of seven.
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 16 GB, NL East. Yankees - 1st place, AL East.
METS PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Jeremy Griffiths (0-0, 7.50 ERA). After three relief appearances, Griffiths will take another shot at his first career start. He started last Saturday’s game against the Yankees, and was trailing 4-3 in the fourth when the game was called due to rain. Griffiths has been pounded for 10 runs and 17 hits over 12 innings in his three relief outings.
YANKEES PROBABLE GAME ONE STARTER: Clemens (7-5, 3.54 ERA). Clemens is coming off Monday’s 4-2 loss at Tampa Bay. He yielded four runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking two. Clemens is 2-5 with a 7.56 ERA—his highest against any opponent—in seven career regular season starts against the Mets.
YANKEES PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Brandon Claussen (no record). The highly touted 24-year-old left-hander will be making his major league debut. Claussen has made a rapid recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery last year. He had a 1.34 ERA in six starts for Triple-A Columbus after going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in four appearances for Class A Tampa.
METS PROBABLE GAME TWO STARTER: Tom Glavine (5-7, 4.31 ERA). Glavine pitched six strong innings against the Yankees last Sunday, yielding one run and five hits while throwing just 66 pitches. However, he took a comebacker off the stomach in the fourth inning off the bat of Derek Jeter, and had to cut his outing short. The Yankees rallied to win the game 7-3 in 11 innings. Glavine is 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA in five career regular season starts against the Yankees. He lost a pair of World Series starts to the Yankees in 1996 and ’99, respectively, as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Ty Wigginton, .278 avg. and 44 runs; Cliff Floyd, 14 HRs and 42 RBIs; Roger Cedeno, 6 SBs. Yankees - Matsui, .292 avg.; Alfonso Soriano and Giambi, 20 HRs; Giambi, 58 RBIs; Soriano, 62 runs and 20 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Mets - 5-7. Yankees - 10-5.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - OF Floyd returned to the Mets’ lineup as the DH on Friday. He did not play Wednesday or Thursday against Florida, and has been bothered all year by an inflamed left Achilles’ tendon. … 2B Alomar is hitting just .195 (16-for-82) with no homers and eight RBIs in his career against RHP Clemens. … OF Cedeno boasts a .545 average with four RBIs in 11 career at-bats against Clemens. Yankees - Recently acquired RHP Dan Miceli has tossed 1 2-3 scoreless innings in two appearances for the Yankees. With RHP Mariano Rivera getting a rest Friday, Miceli pitched the ninth to pick up his first save of the year. … The Yankees lead the all-time regular season series against the Mets 21-12. … 1B Giambi has reached base safely in 32 straight games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 17-23 on the road. Yankees - 21-17 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - C Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; SS Rey Sanchez (thumb), 15-day DL; LHP Mike Stanton (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (side), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 60-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL. Yankees - 1B/DH Nick Johnson (hand), 15-day DL; OF Bernie Williams (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Antonio Osuna (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL.