The New York Yankees are atop the baseball standings with the best record in the major leagues. The New York Mets are still searching for a sustained stretch of winning baseball that can keep the team above .500.
After a soggy Friday night in New York canceled the series’ first game, the Yankees and Mets will try again to open the first round of their annual Subway Series.
The teams will make up the rainout with a day-night doubleheader Sunday at Yankee Stadium, with the first game at 1:05 p.m. and the other starting at 8:05 p.m.
Ex-Yankee Al Leiter—Friday’s scheduled starter—will start Saturday for the Mets, while the Yankees also pushed back their rotation by a day. Rookie Brad Halsey will start Saturday afternoon, with Jose Contreras pitching the opener Sunday and Mike Mussina working the second game. The Mets have not yet announced their starters for Sunday.
Halsey won his major league debut last Saturday at Los Angeles, and Yankees manager Joe Torre didn’t want to delay his next outing. Torre said he didn’t worry about pushing back Contreras by a day.
The Yankees won all six meetings last year, marking the first time either team has done so, and lead 24-12 overall since interleague play began in 1997. That doesn’t include their five-game win over the Mets in the 2000 World Series.
“It’s still great and I still look forward to it, even after all this time,” Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams said. “The novelty never wears off. Playing them is definitely something I get excited about. It’s great because you know the stadium will be packed and the fans will be fired up, and it has a definite playoff atmosphere.”
Rodriguez figures to be a special target of Mets fans for the next week. Shortly after he became a free agent following 2000 season, the Mets cut off talks with the former All-Star shortstop.
Now that Rodriguez is playing in pinstripes, at third base, for the team with the best record in baseball—and Kaz Matsui is struggling at shortstop for the below-.500 Mets—it’ll only add another element to the rivalry.
“Obviously, once A-Rod’s over there, you don’t look for anybody else to take his place,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “They’ve been changing a lot of players over there. A-Rod would probably help them get a little more stability.”
Matsui has had trouble in the field, at the plate and on the bases. He’s hoping his first trip to Yankee Stadium will go a little more smoothly.
“I look forward to it. I’m very excited about the next three days,” he said through a translator.
Matsui, Richard Hidalgo, Mike Cameron and Braden Looper are Mets newcomers to this rivalry. For reserve outfielder Shane Spencer, Yankee Stadium was his old home. He can sense a differnce in attitudes.
“I think it’s different on this side,” Spencer said. “You get to measure yourself a little. It’s probably more important over here than it was over there.”