Commentary

Mets look forward to the Subway Series

The manager, several players have never been through one before, but they're on a roll

Updated: May 20, 2011, 10:17 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The last time Terry Collins managed in the Bronx, the Yankees' starting lineup looked considerably different, with the exception of Derek Jeter at shortstop. It was June 20, 1999, and Tim Belcher outpitched David Cone, with both starters completing eight innings in the Anaheim Angels' 4-2 win.

[+] EnlargeTerry Collins
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesTerry Collins has little advice for the Mets about the Subway Series, because he's never been through one himself.

Joe Girardi caught Cone that day, until Jorge Posada pinch hit for his future manager/recent antagonist.

Still, as Collins watched video of Wednesday's 15-inning Yankees-Orioles game on Thursday morning to prepare for his first installment of the Subway Series, he noted: "It's pretty funny. I haven't been here in a long time, and I look up and I see a lot of the same faces as I saw a few years ago in the Yankee lineup. I know they're very good, and we've got to get ourselves ready to go. It's their park, and they'll be as excited as we will be."

Collins added about reviewing footage of the extra-innings game to prepare for attacking the Yankees: "You can see a lot of things in 15 innings -- a lot of pitches you get to watch."

The Mets head into the Subway Series 21-22 after back-to-back shutouts of the Washington Nationals, capped by Dillon Gee taking a no-hit bid two outs into the sixth inning Thursday afternoon. The Mets can move to .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 on April 9 with a victory against the Yankees on Friday.

"This is a good way to come in -- back-to-back shutouts," Collins said. "We're pitching well. We've got to create some offense. But it'll be fun."

The Mets went 13-5 in interleague play last year but have a tougher American League draw this time. In addition to the annual home-and-home series with the Yankees, the Mets welcome the Angels and Oakland Athletics to Citi Field and travel to Texas and Detroit.

Collins plans to have Fernando Martinez serve as DH for the first two games in the Bronx, with Carlos Beltran in that spot for the series finale. That's a testament to Beltran's health and the feeling his knees do not need a full three-game rest.

As for Martinez, he appeared in the Subway Series in 2009, with a double and an RBI in four at-bats. Collins said about him playing on that big stage: "He can handle it. He's played in the Caribbean Series in front of those enthusiastic fans."

Martinez, for whatever it's worth, actually was the MVP of that four-country winter tournament two offseasons ago.

Collins said he does not really have much advice for his players overall about how to handle the intensity of the Subway Series. He has no shortage of inexperienced players, with likely starters Justin Turner, Jason Pridie, Ruben Tejada and Martinez all having opened the season with Triple-A Buffalo. But, Collins noted: "They've got to learn how to grow in it. They've got to learn how to see it and deal with it. And I haven't been a part of it. I don't know what to tell them except, 'Go play.'"

The manager continued: "I had Gene Lamont tell me one time -- he was coaching third with the Red Sox, I think, when he said, 'Unless you've been a part of the Red Sox-Yankees, you have no idea what it's like.' This is probably a similar situation."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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