The first-place Mets and second-place Yankees did battle against each other in Queens on Friday night in the opener of the “Subway Series”. Both teams are vying for a return to post-season glory, with the Mets coming into the night leading the NL East over the Nationals by eight games and the Yankees trailing the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East by 3.5 games.
The Mets continued to show they belong, taking a 5-1 victory. Starter Steven Matz outdueled Masahiro Tanaka, pitching six innings of one run ball. He scattered seven hits and a walk while striking out four. Tanaka allowed two runs in six frames, giving up five hits in total with four strikeouts and no walks.
Both of the Mets’ runs against Tanaka came on solo home runs. Lucas Duda hit a line drive off of the facing of the second deck in the second inning, and Daniel Murphy broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a no-doubt solo shot to right-center. Juan Uribe would tack on a two-run home run to the opposite field in the seventh off of reliever Chasen Shreve, and Eric Young, Jr. scored on a James Pazos wild pitch in the eighth. Closer Jeurys Familia got into some trouble in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but he bounced back to get Brett Gardner to fly out and Chase Headley to strike out.
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, one of the best hitters in baseball since joining the Mets at the trade deadline, went 0-for-4. He’s been held hitless in each of his last three games.
Meanwhile, the Nationals’ bullpen couldn’t get the job done again. They brought a 4-3 lead over the Marlins into the ninth inning but closer Jonathan Papelbon allowed a leadoff double which eventually led to the Marlins scoring the tying run. The game is 4-4 in the 10th inning as of this writing. As for the Yankee-relevant part of the scoreboard, the Blue Jays topped the Red Sox 6-1 to stretch their lead in the division to 4.5 games.
Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and Michael Pineda of the Yankees will take the hill on Saturday afternoon as the Subway Series continues.
The Mets were in high spirits after coming back to win on Sunday against the Braves, completing a four-game sweep in Atlanta, running their winning streak to seven games, and securing their first winning season since 2008. But something rustled infielder Juan Uribe‘s jimmies.
Uribe joined his teammates on the plane as the team will head back home to host the Marlins on Monday. Third baseman David Wright put a football game on, but that wasn’t a decision that had Uribe’s support. Via Newsday’s Marc Carig:
Uribe went 1-for-5, filling in at third base for Wright on Sunday. He’s hitting .219 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 129 plate appearances since joining the Mets.
Bryce Harper didn’t have an official at-bat tonight, but he still made a major impact in the Nationals’ 15-1 blowout victory over the Braves.
Harper walked in all four of his plate appearances and scored four runs. One of the walks came with the bases loaded, so he was also credited with an RBI. This is actually the second time this season that Harper has walked four times and scored four runs in the same game. He also pulled it off on August 18 against the Rockies. According to ESPN Sports & Info, Harper the first player to do it twice in the same season since Dom DiMaggio in 1950.
Perhaps more amazingly, Harper didn’t swing at any of the 20 pitches he saw tonight. According to ESPN Sports & Info, that’s the second-most pitches without a swing in a game over the past 10 seasons. Juan Uribe saw 21 pitches without a swing in a game in 2010.
Harper is batting .331/.464/.627 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI in 126 games this season. He leads the National League in batting average and leads the majors in on-base percentage and OPS. Oh, and he’s 22 years old.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was pulled from Wednesday’s game with left quad discomfort and Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that an MRI today showed that he’s dealing with a “mild strain.”
Murphy had a stint on the disabled list earlier this year with the same injury. He attempted to downplayed the situation after Wednesday’s game by saying that his quad was “just a shade less than 100 percent,” but the Mets figure to play things safe with him. Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, and Wilmer Flores (currently in Venezuela to attend to his ailing grandfather) are all options to fill in at second base and Michael Cuddyer can cover first base with Lucas Duda still sidelined.
Like most of the Mets hitters, Murphy is coming off a really strong August at the plate. The 30-year-old is batting .282/.325/.430 with 10 home runs and 58 RBI over 107 games this season.