A rare September series between the New York Mets and New York Yankees promises to be memorable regardless of what happens on the field. It might also be the last opportunity for either team to reverse untimely slides that are imperiling their postseason chances.
The Big Apple rivals will each be searching for a must-needed win Friday night when the Mets host the Yankees in the opener of the Queens edition of the Subway Series.
Right-hander Tylor Megill (2-4, 4.20 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery (5-5, 3.47 ERA).
Each New York squad continued spiraling Thursday night, when the Toronto Blue Jays completed a four-game sweep of the host Yankees with a 6-4 win and the visiting Mets squandered a two-run lead in a 3-2 road loss to the Miami Marlins.
Since the final victory in their 13-game winning streak — the longest by the team since 1961 — on Aug. 27, the Yankees have lost 10 of 12 to squander a three-game lead in the race for the first American League wild-card spot and fall into the second and final slot, just a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays.
The Yankees (78-62) never led in the four games against the Blue Jays — the first time the franchise was swept in a four-game series without ever leading since 1908. The Thursday defeat was the Yankees’ sixth in a row.
“It’s not a secret to anybody,” said Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr., who allowed two runs over six innings and didn’t factor into the decision Thursday. “We’ve had a bad stretch for the past 10 games and we (need) to win just as much as everybody does. I think we know where we are in the standings, and we want to win games.”
So do the Mets, whose postseason hopes are far dimmer after going 4-4 on a road trip against the Washington Nationals and the Marlins, the two teams beneath them in the NL East standings. The Mets (70-71) are five games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East as well as five games back of the second NL wild-card spot, held by the San Diego Padres.
The road trip included two walk-off defeats as well as a loss in the Marlins’ final at-bat Thursday, when Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit the tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning.
“These teams that are not fighting for the playoffs or whatever, they’re focused,” said Javier Baez, who homered and scored both Mets runs Thursday. “They’ve got that feeling that we need to, about not trying so hard.
“That’s the way that we need to be.”
The weekend series marks just the third time the Mets and Yankees have played in September. The Yankees took two of three at Citi Field from Sept. 18-20, 2015. Last year, the two teams played a makeup game at Citi Field on Sept. 3, when Pete Alonso’s two-run homer leading off the 10th inning lifted the Mets to a 9-7 win.
Montgomery is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in two career starts against the Mets. In his lone matchup with them this year, he wasn’t involved in the decision on July 3 after allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Megill will be facing the Yankees for the first time in his rookie season.
–Field Level Media