The latest Subway Series between the New York Yankees and Mets concluded Sunday at Shea Stadium. And despite being known as the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees were more like pacified kittens as the Mets silenced the Pinstripers 3-1 behind seven strong innings of one run ball by Oliver Perez.
The Mets started things off early with a one out single in the second by Endy Chavez. Brian Schneider then singled followed by a Perez sacrifice and a Jose Reyes walk to load the bases. Luis Castillo then legged out an infield single to put the boys from Queens up early, 1-0.
The third inning saw the recently rejuvenated Carlos Delgado hit a solo home run to push the score to 2-0, which would prove to be enough support for Perez.
Perez sailed through the first six innings, not running into any trouble until the seventh inning when Yankee reserve Wilson Betemit hit a solo home run, providing the only run the Yankees would score on this day. Despite a Reyes error that followed, Perez was able to finish out the frame to cap a very strong outing.
For having such a sparkling ERA on the season (1.91), Met closer Billy Wagner has an unusual amount of blown saves with five. The usually reliable Wagner has struggled at times this season and the ninth inning Sunday was no exception as he allowed a leadoff single to Derek Jeter followed by a wild pitch that allowed the Yankee captain to advance to second. Wagner was able to compose himself and retire Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Betemit in order to finish off his 18th save of the season as he closes in on an 11th 20-save season.
Perez has had an up and down season, but Sunday was definitely an up (as it usually is vs. the Yanks, whom he is now 5-1 in his career against). With the win, he pushed his record to 6-5 on the season and with eight strikeouts he catapulted his season total to 76 through 90 1/3 IP. It was his first win since June 13 at Texas and he finished the month off with a 2-2 and an ERA over five and a quarter. After such a strong comeback season in 2007, right now, Perez just isn’t showing signs of consistency, so it is a big risk to put him in your lineup unless you are in dire need of strikeouts which he will indeed get you (although, again, not at the same pace he did last year). In many leagues, in fact, Perez has found himself on the waiver wire.
Castillo has had a worse year than Hillary Clinton as he currently sits at only .260 on the season. But if Sunday was any indication, he might be heating up as he went 3-for-5 with a RBI. While Castillo sports a career average of .293, his current BA of 33 points below that hurts especially, given his constant lack of power production with only three home runs and 26 RBI (although, believe it or not, that puts Castillo on pace for career highs in both departments). On the plus side, with 13 steals on the season, he’s on pace for his finest running year since he was a Marlin. Keep one eye on him in case Sunday’s three hit-performance and Friday’s career-high five-run game are any indication of things to come the second half of the season, but keep him far far away from your lineup right now.
Ryan Church made his return from the DL Sunday with two base hits to push his batting average over the .300 barrier. He has ten home runs and 35 RBI on the season and has been one of the many fantasy surprises of 2008. Church showed on Sunday that rust will not be a factor after a brief stint on the DL. He is a nice all around player so if a spot is open, go ahead and put him in your lineup. There’s a slim chance he is still available on your wire, but that will likely vanish very shortly.
Darrell Rasner had another decent but not spectacular start for the Yankees on Sunday going five innings while allowing only two runs, as his record slid to 4-6 on the season, while his ERA shrunk slightly to 4.42 ERA. Rasner is relatively young – only 27 – but hasn’t shown many flashes of brilliance other than a seven inning shut out performance against Baltimore on May 21. In ten starts, Rasner has factored into the decision every time while lasting at least five innings in each contest except one. Rasner might have better long-term value than short term as he continues to work throughout the summer to improve his stuff. In keeper leagues, it might be worth trying to acquire him but in a non-keeper league his value is not much this season. I’d recommend either dumping him or benching him until he shows more consistency.
Melky Cabrera had another less than stellar outing going 0-for-3 dropping his average to .246 midway through the 2008 campaign. His power numbers aren’t vastly different than last year’s output of eight home runs and 73 RBI, but his batting average sits 27 points below last season’s mark. Cabrera is also only getting on base at a .312 clip, which definitely hurts for those of you in leagues which take OBP into account. Keep him as far away from your lineup as possible right now and consider dumping him should a more attractive outfield option present itself.
Jason Giambi came in as a pinch hitter on Sunday and flew out, but overall he has a solid comeback season. The Giambino currently has the most home runs on the Yankees with 17 and is getting on base at a .396 clip, so you know he’s receiving plenty of free passes. While his .262 batting average is not spectacular, it is much better than the paltry .236 Giambi hit last season. If your league takes OBP into account, and you need some power production, start Giambi as his fantasy value has reemerged throughout the course of this season. Notwithstanding a recent slump, he’s enjoyed a very fine June as he continues to put an abysmal April in the rear view mirror.
The Yanks finally cooled off David Wright, although despite an 0-for-3, he did manage to drive in his 64th run in 80 games with a sac fly. Wright has been backsliding since the season began, but his play over the past week (.476, three homers, eight RBI) suggests that July could be the start of a huge second half. Note that he’s been a significantly stronger second-half player in the last three years, so if his owner is a bit frustrated with Wright’s first half, now is a perfect time for you to make an offer.
Yankees reliever David Robertson made his big league debut, giving up four hits, a wild pitch and a run in two innings. He whiffed one and walked none. Just 23, Robertson has fanned 169 batters in 125 career minor league innings for a K/9 of 12.17. A closer at Alabama in college, Robertson has future closer written all over him, so keeper league owners pay attention.
Do you think Reyes is a factor in the Mets’ fortunes at all? He has scored at least one run in each of the team’s last 13 wins. He’s enjoying a strong year, but has just one extra-base hit in the past week. Still, he has a career high in OBP and is on pace to match his career high in runs, and that’s what you need from your lead-off man.