Yankees feeling better, Mets dealing with injuries

Updated: June 25, 2009

Kim Klement-US Presswire

While David Wright will be in the lineup against the Yankees, many of his teammates will be on the DL.

The Yankees visit the Mets at Citi Field this weekend in what will be the best series to watch.

The Yankees are in second place in the AL East and the Mets sit in a close second in the NL East. And did I mention it's the Subway Series?

The first time these clubs met this year was just two weeks ago at the new homer-friendly Yankee Stadium, and both teams took advantage of the kind dimensions. The Yankees are going to learn this weekend why Citi Field has quickly earned a reputation for being a pitchers' park.

And yes, pitching will be the key for the Yankees, who send a healthy CC Sabathia to the mound for the series opener. Sabathia, who left his start Sunday against the Marlins in the second inning after experiencing tightness in his left biceps, successfully passed a 30-pitch bullpen test on Thursday, giving the Yankees the green light for Friday's start. Despite the soreness he complained of in his last start, I am confident the big lefty will do fine. On Saturday, the Yankees go with A.J. Burnett and close with the unpredictable Chien-Ming Wang on Sunday night.

Featured Series: Yankees at Mets
FRIDAY
Yankees (Sabathia) at Mets (Pelfrey), 7:10 ET
SATURDAY
Yankees (Burnett) at Mets (Redding), 7:10 ET
SUNDAY
Yankees (Wang) at Mets (Hernandez), 8:05 ET, ESPN

The Mets are at a slight disadvantage, as injuries have ultimately been the demise of this team. With nine players on the disabled list -- a group that includes, among others, Carlos Delgado, J.J. Putz, John Maine, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran -- it's tough to find a silver lining. Beltran became the latest to head off to the DL when an MRI exam revealed a worsened bone bruise in his right knee.

There's also been some recent buzz about Alex Rodriguez's struggles at the plate, with many people now pointing to his age. Honestly, A-Rod is getting older, but he still only turns 34 at the end of July, so age isn't the reason he is struggling.

The truth is, A-Rod has not fully healed from the minor hip surgery he underwent back in March. Since he opted for minor surgery instead of major surgery that would've kept him out of the lineup for up to four months, we are seeing the result of his decision. He did, however, have a big day in the Yankees' 11-7 win over the Braves on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs.

Even though the Yankees have trended down -- they led the AL East on June 8 and now trail the Red Sox, who were able to insert John Smoltz into their rotation Thursday, by four games -- I'm picking them to take two out of three in this series. The Yankees' starting pitching, coupled with their better all-around hitting should prove too much for the Mets to handle.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: June 24 | June 23 | June 22 | June 21 | June 18

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
NAME HR OPPPITCHER SITUATION
J. Fox, ChC1DetGalarragaTop 1: 1-0, 2 Outs. 2 on.
R. Santiago, Det5ChCLillyBot 3: 1-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.
M. Ordonez, Det3ChCLillyBot 4: 0-2, 1 Outs. 1 on.
L. Berkman, Hou15KCBannisterBot 2: 3-2, 0 Outs. 1 on.
P. Konerko, CWS12LABillingsleyBot 5: 0-1, 0 Outs. None on.
M. Hoffpauir, ChC7DetRodneyTop 9: 0-1, 0 Outs. None on.

The complete list of Thursday's homers

ON DECK: WEEKEND WATCH

Cubs at White Sox

Both teams are hovering around .500. The problems for the White Sox have come at home where, despite Thursday's extra-inning win, they are 18-19 this season. The Cubs, losers of their past four games, have been undone by an unpredictable offense, which ranks 26th in the majors in both runs scored and batting average.

Giants at Brewers

Two of the better young pitchers in the majors get together in the series opener. Yovani Gallardo has given up more than three runs in a start only once since April 13. Matt Cain has won his past seven decisions and leads the NL in wins (9) and complete games (3), and is second in ERA (2.28).

Phillies at Blue Jays

The Blue Jays remain within striking distance of first place in the AL East, even without Roy Halladay, who has been sidelined because of a groin strain. Halladay, out since June 12, is set to return Monday. The Phillies, meanwhile, are a bit healthier, with closer Brad Lidge back from the disabled list.

For the rest of Friday's schedule, click here. To see what's on tap for Saturday, click here. And for Sunday's full slate of games, click here.

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BBTN MINUTE: YANKEES-METS PREVIEW

SIMON SAYS

Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Tonight, he looks at the Tigers, who have now won seven in a row after beating the Cubs on Thursday.

Tigers over seven-game winning streak
Runs per game 6.3
SLG .574
Doubles 8
Home runs 15*

* Nine different players have homered during the winning streak.

WEB GEMS

THURSDAY'S BEST AND WORST

BEST
Hanley RamirezHanley Ramirez is on a power surge, hitting three homers in his past four games. On Thursday, he belted a grand slam as part of his 3-for-5 day. He drove home five runs, scored three and stole a base as the Marlins drubbed the Orioles 11-3.
WORST
Derek LoweDerek Lowe was done early in the Braves' loss against the Yankees. Lowe lasted just three innings, giving up 11 hits and eight runs, both season highs, in the 11-7 loss. It is the second time in three starts Lowe has not made it out of the third inning.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Randy Johnson CC Sabathia earned himself a reputation as a workhorse in 2008, thriving in late-game situations as his pitch counts rose. While Sabathia is off to an OK start in 2009 (6-4, 3.71 ERA), he has not been able to match his late-game success from last season. So far with the Yankees, Sabathia has topped 100 pitches in 12 of his 15 starts.

Sabathia after throwing 100th pitch of start
Past two seasons
BA against .179 .278
OBP against .255 .366
BB pct. 9.5 11.6
K pct. 30.5 25.6

-- ESPN Stats & Information

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF FRIDAY'S GAMES

Adam Madison examines the 15 games on Friday's slate.

Fantasy Madison ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Friday. Daily Notes

BBTN FANTASY MINUTE