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.
Lucas Duda wasn’t able to return from to return from the disabled list when he was first eligible as the Mets originally hoped, but Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record reports that he’s set to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Binghamton.
Duda has been sidelined since August 21 with a thoracic herniation in his back. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Friday that it’s unlikely he’ll be ready when the team begins their big showdown against the Nationals on Monday, but he could be activated at some point later on in the series. Michael Cuddyer is also sidelined right now due to wrist tendinitis, so the Mets are relying on Kelly Johnson at first base.
Duda, 29, is batting .247/.346/.472 with 21 home runs and 56 RBI over 113 games this season.
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.
The Mets provided an encouraging updated on injured first baseman Lucas Duda this afternoon, as he’s expected to return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible next weekend.
According to Marc Carig of New York Newsday, Duda was diagnosed with a small thoracic disc herniation in his back following X-rays and an MRI. The Mets believe that a rehab plan of anti-inflammatories and exercise will do the trick.
Thanks to a ridiculous power surge from late July to early August, Duda has 21 home runs and an .856 OPS in 113 games this season. Daniel Murphy is starting at first base tonight with David Wright back in the lineup, but Michael Cuddyer also figures to get some playing time at the position while Duda is sidelined.