Since the introduction of interleague play in 1997, the New York Yankees and New York Mets have produced numerous notable moments during 122 regular-season games and for five games in the 2000 World Series.
The teams are about to embark on an unprecedented weekend, and it gets underway Friday when the Mets and Yankees get together for a five-game series at Yankee Stadium that will feature a pair of seven-inning doubleheaders.
The teams have played doubleheaders before but usually split between the two stadiums and necessitated by rainouts. This time, doubleheaders are needed due to two positive coronavirus tests for the Mets, who were slated to host the Yankees in a three-game series last weekend.
Two of last weekend’s games will be made up in the Bronx, though the Mets will serve as the home team. The final game of the season series will occur next Thursday at Citi Field.
The teams will also open the series on Jackie Robinson Day, which usually is April 15 — the anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Friday represents the anniversary when Robinson met with Branch Rickey to discuss breaking the color barrier.
These games will be played at the end of a week where most teams had at least one game postponed so racial injustices can be further publicized, such as what occurred in the NBA with playoff games on Wednesday and Thursday.
Many current players will donate salaries from Friday’s game to The Players Alliance, a group of more than 100 current and former Black players.
The Yankees enter on a five-game losing streak and could be without Aaron Judge, who reinjured his right calf after missing nearly two weeks with the same injury. Judge was reinjured during the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader in Atlanta when the Yankees followed up a 5-1 loss with a 2-1 loss.
“We don’t like it. We’ve got to play a little better,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the defeats. “We have a tough stretch of games coming up, with a lot of those games at home. We’ve got to go home and start playing a little bit better.”
Judge could join the prominent names who are missing for the Yankees this weekend. DJ LeMahieu (sprained left thumb), Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring), Zack Britton (left hamstring), Gleyber Torres (left quad/hamstring) and James Paxton (left forearm strain) are all on the injured list.
The Mets were slated to conclude a four-game series with the Miami Marlins on Thursday after dropping two of the first three games. Instead they took the field, engaged in a 42-second moment of silence, and then walked off the field to officially announce the postponement while placing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt at home plate.
The postponement for the Mets occurred after seeing outfielder Dominic Smith, a Black man who cried Wednesday when discussing the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., over the weekend.
“After seeing the comments Dom made last night, it’s not just about Dom, but it really touched all of us in the clubhouse,” said Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, who also serves as the team’s player representative.
The Yankees are expected to start left-hander Jordan Montgomery in the opener and use a bullpen game in the nightcap. Montgomery is 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in four starts and will pitch for the first time since allowing one run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings of a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 17.
The Mets did not announce their starting pitching plans for Friday but it could be Michael Wacha for one game. Wacha took the mound Thursday before the moment of silence after missing nearly three weeks with right shoulder inflammation.
Wacha is 1-2 with a 6.43 ERA in three starts after signing a one-year deal with the Mets in the offseason. He last pitched in a 4-3 loss to Miami on Aug. 7, when he allowed four runs on six hits while also getting nine strikeouts over five innings.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media