The Subway Series is always one of the highlights of the New York baseball season, but it’ll be more different this year than ever before. Due to a positive COVID-19 test on the Mets’ front last week, the games were postponed and rescheduled into a sandwich of doubleheaders this weekend at Yankee Stadium, as well as one game at Citi Field in September.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for the Metropolitans this season. They’ve been riddled with injuries and have seen regression from Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario and Wilson Ramos. You still have to watch out for those guys, though, and with Robinson Canó, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, but the Mets’ lineup does pack some punch.
But the pitching? Other than the always-excellent Jacob deGrom, yikes. Due to the way the rotation schedule played out, the Yankees will dodge deGrom this series, but the Mets also won’t face Gerrit Cole or Masahiro Tanaka. Both teams will have to rely heavily on their pitching depth to navigate through five games in three days.
Friday (2 games)
The first game of the doubleheader will feature the Yankees as the home team, while the second will see the Mets as the “home team” at Yankee Stadium. It is also Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball, and all players will wear jersey number 42 across their backs.
Jordan Montgomery will kick off this unique series on Friday for the Yankees, but other than that, it’s a crapshoot as to who will be pitching or what the lineups might look like. Perhaps Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King or Nick Nelson opens a bullpen game, or maybe we see the MLB debuts of Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt or Miguel Yajure. It’s all on the table for the Bombers.
As for the Mets, both of their pitchers are listed as TBD. The Mets have a small cadre of available starters, but none are particularly impressive or fully stretched out. There’s Steven Matz, but he had been removed from the rotation for poor performance. Then there’s starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter again Robert Gsellman, but he likely wouldn’t be able to provide more than 2-3 innings.
Corey Oswalt has been used in a long relief role and could function as an opener, and then there’s also the possibility the Mets use Michael Wacha or David Peterson, who are both expected to be activated off the Injured List soon. No one really knows who is going to pitch this series for either team, but the games being seven-inning affairs will surely help.
Saturday: J.A. Happ vs. TBD
Ironically, J.A. Happ is one of the few sure things the Yankees have this series. Happ has not been effective this year, and has been publicly upset with his role on the team, speculating that the Yankees are limiting his innings to keep his 2021 option from vesting. Happ has pitched just twice in August, and this will be his first start in 13 days. His last start was better than his first two, but still a little shaky. He’ll try and right the ship again vs. the Mets in Saturday’s only game.
The Mets’ Saturday starter is also TBD, but again it figures to be someone from the aforementioned Matz-Gsellman-Oswalt-Wacha-Peterson crowd. None of those guys figure to give the Mets much length, so expect it to be a bullpen-heavy game (again) on Saturday.
Sunday (2 games)
The series wraps on Sunday with another doubleheader. Just like Friday, the Yankees will be the home team in game one, but will be “visitors” inside their own stadium for game two. Again, the Yankees have no concrete pitching plans this far into the future, but it’d be a safe bet that these will be bullpen games started by Loaisiga, King or Nelson, with a Garcia, Schmidt or Yajure debut an outside possibility.
The Mets have listed their starters as TBD, but they might actually already have a plan for Sunday based on how they handled a doubleheader vs. Miami on Tuesday. The Mets started Rick Porcello in the first game and went with on-again-off-again starter Seth Lugo in Game 2 (Lugo had spent the entire year in the bullpen before this week, functioning mainly as the Mets’ closer). Both pitchers will be on regular rest for Sunday, so expect to see Porcello and Lugo in the series finale.