Our Subway Series Prediction: Yankees, Yankees, Mets

It isn't just the economy and the ticket prices that will produce all those empty seats at Yankee Stadium tonight. The Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies have taken much of the wind out of this season's first Subway Series.

As we go to press, you can still go to the Yankees web site and grab some foul pole limited view seats for tonight's game at $150 a pop, but good seats will cost you $900 (plus an  inconvenient $23.45 convenience fee!). A little more reasonable pricing can be found on Stubhub, currently offering bleacher tickets for tomorrow's game in an auction starting at $25 each.

But be honest: if you were going to pay that kind of money, wouldn't you rather see the Yankees play the Red Sox or the Mets play the Phillies? Well, maybe not after the faceoffs of the past few days...
Still, no matter how deflating this week's games were, the upcoming Yankees-Mets games are not the old Mayor's Trophy charity exhibitions we had before interleague play. If, for instance, you're a Yankee fan, you have to figure that the combination of winning two of three from the Mets and a Phillies sweep or even two of three from Boston at Citizens Bank park this weekend would restore some lost momentum.

The odds seem pretty good that the Yankees can take at least two of three, most likely the first two. Joba Chamberlain, who goes tonight for the Yankees, has been pitching very well of late, only 3-1 for the season but solid in two no-decision starts. He's no Dwight Gooden yet, but his strikeouts-to-walks ratio of two-to-one (55-28) is starting to foreshadow greatness. Livan Hernandez, on the other hand, has been living on borrowed time. Though he's won five of six decisions, he's given up 74 hits in 67.1 innings, and even Jerry Manuel remarked on his energy loss after 100 pitches against Washington. This is a good time for A-Rod (.625 with three home runs in 16 at-bats) to break out of his slump against Livan.

Saturday the odds are even better for the Yankees with Andy Pettitte (6-2) going against a pitcher to be named later, who will be filling in for John Maine who, in an ominous sign for the Mets, is complain of fatigue in his shoulder.  Right now the reports are that it will be lefty Fernando Nieve, who hasn't started a major league game since 2006 when he was with Houston. The other option is Jonathan Niese, not exactly tearing things up at Buffalo in Triple-A.

We regard Sunday night's game as a lock for the Mets. Johan Santana is simply the best pitcher in baseball. And games like this is what he came to New York for. A.J. Burnett is an overrated bust -- no cream pie for you, pal.

It's a little early for team assessments, but we have a strong feeling that the Mets -- despite their slightly inferior series record (31-27)  to the Yankees 34-26) -- are the better team. The Mets, after all, are playing without both Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado (who, if you're wondering, is reportedly riding a rehab bike but won't be swinging a bat in three weeks).  Without those two, the Mets are a team with two great hitters -- David Wright at .362 and Carlos Beltran at .341, who will probably finish the season with the highest batting averages of any teammates in Mets history -- and seven dwarves. The rest of the lineup is batting under .260 with just 25 home runs. If the Yankees handle Wright and Beltran, the Mets don't score.

We asked Ron Darling if he thought this Subway Series has the same sizzle as in previous years. He said, "No, but it would have if the Yankees had beaten the Red Sox and the Mets had beaten the Phillies. But I guarantee you that the fans are going to be up for this, but I also get the feeling that more than a few will be checking their cell phones for the Red Sox-Phillies score."

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