The second game of the Subway Series features a match-up of each team’s best young starter. The more heralded Phil Hughes has finally begun to show the promise that led him to be considered one of the best prospects in the game, while the more established Mike Pelfrey has bounced back from a disappointing 2009 season to more resemble the pitcher who proved doubters wrong in 2008.
Both pitchers come into the game with five victories, but Hughes has been the more impressive of the two, posting an ERA three-quarters lower despite pitching in the American League East. Still, the Mets have to be excited about Pelfrey’s re-emergence. Like Hughes, Pelfrey’s improvement as a starter has stemmed from increased confidence in and command of the four seamer.
The key for Hughes will be using the aggressiveness of the Mets hitters along with the spacious Citi Field outfield to his advantage. Expect a heavy dose of fastballs early and then the gradual introduction of his cutter and curve. In his last start against Boston, Hughes gave up a pair of homers on the cutter, so he’ll have to work extra hard to make sure he gets the pitch in on the hands of the few left handed hitters that the Mets have.
Pelfrey’s biggest challenge will be making sure he keeps his pitch count down by attacking the front and back of the Yankees lineup. The Mets desperately need innings from Pelfrey, so even five runs of shutout ball probably won’t be much help.
The only change to the Mets lineup is the addition of Luis Castillo in the two hole, while the Yankees only adjustment is Randy Winn in left field. With both teams struggling to drive in runners from scoring position over the last few games (and over a longer period for the Mets), the first team to capitalize on a rally could gain a decided edge, especially if both pitchers are on top of their game.
While the Yankees simply need to keep winning because, well, they’re the Yankees, the Mets are teetering on the edge of having their season blow up. Jerry Manuel’s job could very well depend on the talented arms of Pelfrey and Johan Santana tomorrow, so there could be a sense of added urgency. Whether that inspires the struggling Mets, or only tightens the noose around their neck remains to be seen.
|vs. Mike Pelfrey||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Derek Jeter SS||4||0.333||0.333||0.667||0||0|
|Brett Gardner CF||3||0.667||0.667||0.667||0||0|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||13||0.308||0.308||0.385||0||2|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||6||0.500||0.667||0.500||0||1|
|Robinson Cano 2B||6||0.167||0.167||0.333||0||1|
|Nick Swisher RF||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Francisco Cervelli C||3||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Randy Winn LF||10||0.100||0.100||0.200||0||1|
|Phil Hughes P||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|vs. Phil Hughes||PA||BA||OBP||SLG||HR||RBI|
|Jose Reyes SS||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Luis Castillo 2B||1||0.000||1.000||0.000||0||0|
|Jason Bay LF||6||0.167||0.167||0.167||0||0|
|Ike Davis 1B||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|David Wright 3B||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Angel Pagan CF||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Rod Barajas C||2||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Jeff Francoeur RF||1||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Mike Pelfrey P||0||0.000||0.000||0.000||0||0|
|Yankees vs. Mets|
|Season: 2010||Season: 2009||Season: 2008||All-Time|
|TIED: 1-0||NYY: 5-1||NYM: 4-4||NYY: 43-30|