At the season’s quarter pole, the Mets have been bruised and slightly bloodied by a coterie of National League welterweights and lightweights. This weekend, the Mets are going to step up in weight class as the Yankees visit Flushing for the 13th time dating back to 1997.
The Mets are 30-42 against the Yankees since the inception of Interleague series. The only two regular season series wins came in 2004 and 2008 when the Mets won four of six games. The Yankees won the only postseason series between the two franchises, taking the 2000 World Series in five games.
The Mets were outscored 44-17 as they lost five of six to the Yankees in 2009. Fernando Nieve was the pitcher of record in the Mets' lone win against the Yankees last year. Nieve scattered four hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 6-2 win at Yankee Stadium on June 13. Now part of the Mets’ bullpen, Nieve is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 212/3 innings this season.
"They are always great games,” said third baseman David Wright. “It's like a playoff atmosphere."
"I've heard a lot about it. I missed the series last year,” Jeff Francoeur said. Francoeur hit .333 with a homer, a double and four RBI in two series against the Yankees while a member of the Braves organization. “I can't wait for the weekend. It should be fun."
"I'm used to the Yankees rivalry with Boston so I have a little feel of what to expect,” added Jason Bay. “It should be a great atmosphere."
The atmospheric conditions around Citi Field this weekend could be tense. The Mets entered Thursday's series finale against the Nationals with just five wins this month.
Following consecutive below sub par starts, Ollie Perez has been banished to the bullpen. Starter Jonathan Niese strained his right hamstring fielding a bunt in Sunday’s 10-8 loss against the Marlins in Florida. After being swept by the Marlins, one tabloid called for the firing of manager Jerry Manuel.
Before the Mets’ 3-2 win on Monday over the Braves in Atlanta, Manuel met with chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Omar Minaya and assistant GM John Ricco for an hour and a half Monday afternoon. Afterward, Wilpon spoke with the traveling beat reporters regarding the reasoning for his impromptu trip.
“We played four poor games in Florida and I felt like it was time to come down and meet with the staff—Omar, John Ricco, and Jerry—and get a state of where they think where we’re at,” Wilpon said before he announced that he was going to stay in Atlanta for Tuesday’s game. When he asked if Minaya and Manuel were in danger of being fired, Wilpon replied tersely. “I didn’t come here to fire anybody, sorry,” the COO said.