For the first time in almost a decade, all of New York can daydream that a regular-season series between the Mets and Yankees is merely an appetizer for an even larger stage: the World Series.
The Subway Series reconvenes for the first time this season when the Mets play host to the Yankees on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series.
Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.55 ERA) is slated to take the mound against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.24 ERA).
Both teams were off Monday after winning Sunday. The visiting Yankees blanked the Baltimore Orioles 6-0 in the finale of a three-game series and the host Mets avoided being swept in a three-game series by beating the San Diego Padres 8-5.
With both teams in first place in their respective divisions, the Mets and Yankees appear headed for the playoffs for the first time in the same season since 2015, when the Yankees lost to the Houston Astros in the American League wild-card game while the Mets reached the World Series before falling in five games to the Kansas City Royals.
The teams have played just once in the World Series — in 2000, when the Yankees beat the Mets in five games in the first all-New York series since the Yankees’ seven-game win over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956.
The victory by the Mets on Sunday ensured they would be atop the National League East by first pitch Tuesday. The Mets entered Monday with a 1 1/2-game lead on the red-hot Atlanta Braves, who are scheduled to play the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night. Atlanta is 35-12 since June 1.
Pete Alonso’s go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning provided some relief for the Mets, who were limited to four runs or fewer 13 times in their first 19 games this month and hadn’t led the Padres in either of their losses Friday and Saturday night.
“We haven’t really got it done and it’s hard to win when you don’t score,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “It was just a matter of getting the wheel going and Pete got it for us.”
The Yankees are 66-31, which puts them in a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers (64-30) for the best record in baseball, although the Dodgers are mere percentage points ahead. New York leads the Toronto Blue Jays by 12 1/2 games in the AL East.
But the Yankees are just 10-10 in July, which meant Sunday’s win provided them a chance to exhale much like their cross-town rivals.
“There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs in the season,” said Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes, who earned the win Sunday with six scoreless innings. “If this is our bad part, I’ll take it.”
Walker didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start July 16, when he allowed one run over six innings as the Mets earned a 2-1 victory in 11 innings over the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a doubleheader.
Montgomery also didn’t factor into the decision Thursday after surrendering two runs in 6 1/3 innings as the Yankees fell to the Houston Astros 3-2 in the first game of a twinbill.
Walker is 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. Montgomery is 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA in three starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media