Subway Series Showdown: Yankees vs. Mets Kick off …

In the second weekend edition of Major League Baseball’s exciting interleague play, sports fans are treated to a classic battle between the two New York baseball clubs, as the New York Yankees prepare to host the New York Mets for the first game of the famed Subway Series taking place over a 3-game stretch this weekend. With game time set for 7:05 PM ET, baseball fans can be prepared for an excellent clash between the two New York teams, for whom this weekend series will be critical in their respective chases for division leads.

Tonight, the pitching match-up should be an outstanding one, as the Mets’ Johan Santana (3-2, 2.38 ERA), squares off against the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.82 ERA). Both pitchers have performed extremely well over the course of the last few weeks, and come into tonight’s duel off fine performances. To say Johan Santana may have found his groove back this year might be something of an understatement; he’s thrown back-to-back complete game shutouts, including a no-hitter last week against the mighty bats of the St. Louis Cardinals. That effort marked the first time in the history of the Mets’ franchise that a no-hitter had been recorded by one of their pitchers. Santana has allowed exactly 4 hits over 18 shutout innings, and despite struggling in match-ups over the past few years with the Yankees (1-2, 7.56 ERA in 3 starts since 2009), this is arguably a much different Johan Santana than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. He’ll certainly need to be on point against a Yankees’ lineup that since 2009 has hit .329 as a team against him, but on extra rest after throwing 134 pitches in his brilliant no-hitter last week, expect him to bring his A-game to Yankee Stadium in this huge, nationally televised series opener. It’ll be a chance at redemption for Santana, who although sporting a 3-0 record with a 2.06 ERA in his last 8 starts, has not been able to find a groove at the new Yankee Stadium, where in his last two appearances he’s gone 0-2, with an ERA north of 7, all while allowing Yankee batsmen to tag him for a .405 batting average. We have a feeling though that something is going to change tonight, with Santana looking once again to be in peaking form, and on 6 days of rest.

On the flipside of the pitching duel this evening lies another stand-out pitcher who has performed very well as of late. Hiroki Kuroda has allowed no more than 3 runs in his last three appearances, including 8 innings of shutout work against Oakland on May, 27th, and a solid 7 innings of work with 2 runs allowed against Detroit last weekend. One major cause for concern with Kuroda is something that is not within his realm of control; he’s simply not getting the run support needed to win ballgames. In his last 4 starts, the Yankees have only mustered a total of 6 runs of support for the Japanese sinker/slider pitcher. Like Santana also, Kuroda has not found success against his New York opposition, posting a 1-5 record with a 5.75 ERA against the Yankees during his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Like Santana, his last two outings against the team he’s about to face have not been positive ones (0-2, surrendering 9 runs in 11 2/3 innings of work last season), but coming into tonight’s game with a new team, a new scenario and pitching on good form, expect better things from Kuroda tonight.

As for the breakdown across the batting orders for tonight’s start of the Subway Series, the Yankees clearly have more experience in facing Santana as do the Mets in stacking up against Kuroda. The Yankees have a combined 258 at-bats against the Mets’ ace, whereas the Mets have seen Kuroda a total of just 95 times at the plate. Key to the Yankees’ success at the plate starts with Derek Jeter, who has the most effective experience against Santana and the highest batting average against him, going 15-for-33 lifetime for a .455 average. With 3 straight 0-for games over this last week, and going 2-for-20 in his last 5 games, Jeter needs to be one of the Yankees hitters to break through Santana’s run of outstanding form. He could be just the person to do it here tonight, as his 25-game hit streak against the Mets, including a .435 batting average across 41 home games in this series, dictates. Another Yankee’s hitter to watch out for is Robinson Cano, who has a .364 average against Santana coming in, and has a 5-game hitting streak in the works. Scoring runs in six straight games before coming up short in the runs department against Tampa Bay last night, expect Cano to also play a major role in tonight’s match-up, if the Yankees are to get the best of the Mets’ ace. One more consideration in the Yankees’ lineup tonight is Raul Ibanez, who has faced Santana more times than anyone (46 at-bats), and sports a .348 lifetime average with 2 homers and 10 RBI. While he wasn’t in the line-up against Tampa Bay last night, don’t be surprised to see him inserted here tonight. For the Yankees to score a victory in Game 1 of this series, they must find a way to get their most productive bats going from the early on, as if Johan Santana settles into a comfortable groove, he’ll likely be dominant for the entire time he’s on the mound.

For the Mets’ batting line-up, which has performed reasonably well this season in general (9th in runs, 13th in batting average, 7th in on-base percentage), they’ll need to have some stand-up success from their key players in order to start getting even with a Yankees’ team that dominated them in this Subway Series last year, taking 4 out of 6 games from the Mets. Coming off a three-game losing skid with a victory at Washington yesterday, there should be some sense of confidence for the Mets tonight, especially with Santana throwing fire on the mound. However, key to the Mets’ success at the plate starts with their hottest bat in the hands of David Wright. Wright has had 3 multi-hit games in his last 6 appearances, going 6-for-17 in his last 4. He’s hitting .410 on the road against the Yankees over the last 9 outings, and has gone 6-for-14 (.429) against Hiroki Kuroda lifetime. Wright needs to set the tone at the plate for the Mets, who otherwise don’t have all that much in the way of success against Kuroda heading into this match-up. That said look for one of the trending Mets’ bats to possibly come alive tonight, in the hands of right-fielder Lucas Duda. Duda went 3-for-9 against the Yankees last year, and is currently on a tear batting .357 with 5 homers and 12 RBI in his last 8 games played. The Mets could also get a boost from Daniel Murphy, who could be due to come out of a little slump this week, after producing 2 hits last night for his only production in the last 4 games. Still batting .290 on the season, Murphy’s contributions at the plate would most certainly help the Mets, as his speed on the base path would come in handy in what could potential be a low scoring game tonight.

Betting Lines for the New York Yankees vs. New York Mets at TopBet Sportsbook.

The New York Yankees pull the odds as the favorites to win tonight’s match-up at TopBet Sportsbook, getting -144 straight up on the money line. The Mets, behind their staff ace Johan Santana, are set as a tempting +134 underdog here tonight.

Against the spread, the visiting Mets will have 1.5 runs to play with as underdogs, though at -160 odd, while New York will get 1.5 runs to have to cover, at +140 odds. With the lack of run support being an issue for Kuroda recently, the Mets certainly look like they have the best play against the spread for tonight’s showdown.

For the total points line, the over/under is set at a high 8.5 runs, considering the recent form of both these pitchers. No doubt that is taking history into account, as neither pitcher has been very good against their opposition over the past few years. The TopBet bookmakers are expecting a break out of the total runs, giving -125 odds to the over pickers, while +105 odds await those willing to gamble a bit towards the underside of the run line. It’s definitely tempting to side with the under wager here, expecting that both pitchers will up their game in this critical Game 1 of the 3-game set over this weekend.

Expect a fantastic opening night for this classic Subway Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, make sure to explore all your betting options for tonight’s game, and hopefully come out a winner in your wagers at the TopBet Sportsbook!

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