When the Mets make their visit to Yankee Stadium to start the annual Subway Series, Johan Santana will be on the mound and all eyes will be on him to see what happens in his first start following his historic no-hitter one week ago.
Santana has made 10 career starts against the Yankees, all of which occurred before his shoulder surgery. Now that the Yankees are seeing the version of Santana with a no-hitter under his belt. While they have nothing but admiration for him, they will not change their approach against him.
“It’s great to see because Johan is one of those class acts in baseball,” Mark Teixeira said. “Before he got hurt he was to me the best left-hander in baseball. I remember facing him when he threw 95 [mph] and even when his shoulder started bothering him and his velocity went down, he could still get guys out with the best of them. So he’s really one of those great competitors.”
The last two times the Yankees faced Santana at Yankee Stadium they won by a combined 19-0 and roughed him up for 13 runs and 17 hits in nine innings.
“We just have to be really sharp because if you expand the zone against him, it could be tough,” Teixeira said. “If you miss your pitch, he might make a mistake or two and we just have to make sure we hit those mistakes.”
Putting past history aside, the Yankees still hold Santana in high esteem and are pleased that his comeback has been successful so far.
“I don’t know Johan very well, but obviously, I know he’s been through injuries,” Andy Pettitte said. “So anytime you see someone comeback it’s great. I’m proud for him. I wish him nothing but the best, except against us.”
Friday will be just the fourth instance in the last 50 years the Yankees have faced a pitcher coming off a no-hitter, though they faced Matt Garza in Tampa Bay following his no-hitter just two years ago.
Though some feel it is another game they know how much the fans are into to it, especially since both teams have similar records this year.
“To me the Mets and Red Sox are the best series at Yankee Stadium,” Teixeira said. “The fans are so into, especially this year; the Mets are having a great year. Facing Johan tomorrow night is going to be electric; his first start after a no-hitter.
“I’ve said interleague in general has run its course. Playing Pittsburgh and Seattle in July doesn’t make a lot of sense. But the Subway Series makes sense. I would love to be able to continue to play the Mets at least one series every year because the fans deserve that.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher for complete coverage of the Subway Series all weekend. Metro will cover all the festivities online as well.