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Harvey set to face former favorite team in Yankees
As a Yankees fan raised in Connecticut, Mets phenom Matt Harvey estimates he made approximately half a dozen trips to New York City while he was growing up to watch Subway Series games in person.
On Monday, he took in the Mets' series-opening victory against his former favorite team from the home dugout at Citi Field. On Tuesday night, Harvey will get his best view yet of the rivalry as he takes the mound opposite right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Despite his childhood allegiance and the intense nature of the Subway Series, Harvey insists his only focus Tuesday is on helping the Mets win their second straight game against the Yankees at Citi Field before the four-game set shifts to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
"We need wins, that's the biggest thing. It doesn't matter who's stepping in the box or who we're playing against," Harvey said. "We need these wins. We need to get on a roll. That's the biggest focus. It just so happens to be the Yankees. If we can get a couple wins out of this or a sweep, then that's what we need."
As much as Harvey has been looking forward to facing the Yankees for the first time, some of the Yanks have felt that same excitement about squaring off against the 24-year-old pitching sensation. Veteran outfielder Vernon Wells admitted he has been keeping tabs on Harvey -- who he says has "electric stuff" -- and has anticipated the showdown for the past couple of weeks.
"I kind of did the matchups two weeks ago and figured he's most likely going to be in there. Four games, you figure you're going to end up getting him," Wells said. "Like I said, I think everyone in here enjoys facing guys like that just to either make one end of the highlight reel, whether you're punching out or getting a hit. We'll see what happens."
Though Harvey has notched just one win since rattling off four in as many outings to start the season, he has still allowed two runs or fewer in all but two of his 10 trips to the mound this season. As scary as Harvey can be on the mound, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is also worried about what the phenom will do against his club with a bat in his hands.
Harvey has just three hits in 20 at-bats this season, but hit .333 (6-for-18) in limited action in 2012.
"I actually watched his first start on TV last year and was very impressed," Girardi said. "I have a friend who's a Mets fan. I said, 'You know what, the other thing is, this kid can hit.' I was not only impressed with his pitching. I said, 'Man, he's got some kind of swing.'"
As for Harvey's pitching, Girardi added: "Obviously, his stuff speaks for itself, but he really looks like he knows how to pitch."
Yankees: Joba set to be activated on Tuesday
Reliever Joba Chamberlain plans to return from the disabled list prior to Tuesday night's game.
The right-hander, on the DL with a left oblique strain since May 1, threw two innings in an extended spring training game on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., without any issues. Chamberlain will re-assume his seventh-inning role out of the bullpen upon his return, according to Girardi.
"If you can throw 95, 96 [mph] at 10:30 in the morning, usually it should be OK," Chamberlain said on Monday. "It's one of those things where we wanted to make sure in between the innings, see how it reacted, just in case that would happen. I feel great."
Mets: Tejada back in leadoff spot
Shortstop Ruben Tejada went 0-for-4 in his return to the leadoff spot on Monday night, but manager Terry Collins believes he's the Mets' best fit for the role.
Tejada's first 16 starts this season came with him batting seventh or lower in the lineup before making his leadoff debut on April 23. He then made 15 of his next 17 starts batting either first or second in the Mets' order. With his continued struggles at the plate, however, Tejada had more recently shifted back to the eight-hole until Saturday, when he hit second against the Braves before batting leadoff in Monday's series opener.
"We've kind of looked at some different things, and as we move forward, he's got to be the guy that leads off for us," Collins said. "Ruben's just going to have to step up, work hard on getting on base and getting back to hitting line drives."
The Mets have already used seven different players in the leadoff role, all of whom have combined for a .196 batting average and .261 on-base percentage -- both National League worsts.
Kuroda is just 2-5 with a 4.81 ERA in eight career starts against the Mets. Last season, however, he allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings in his lone start against them as a member of the Yankees.
The Mets are looking to win their first season series against the Yankees since 2008, when they won four of six meetings. The Yankees have turned in a 17-8 Subway Series record since.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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MLB: MLB Top Weekend Power Trends (9/4-9/6)
It’s the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, and while this time of the year is best known in sports circles for the kickoff of the footbal online bingo l season, it is also important in baseball. Pennant races are heating up and with only four weeks left in the season, there’s only so much time for those chasing to gain ground. With a full slate of games on tap once again for the weekend, we are here to look at all of the key action, plus deliver this week’s Top StatFox Power Trends for you to capitalize on in your wagering.
The wildcard races are the closest of any chase for playoff positioning in both leagues. In the American League, Boston continues to set the pace, but Texas is just 3-games back. The Rangers also have their sights set on the A.L. West title though, trailing the Angels by 3-1/2 games. All three of the aforementioned teams will be on the road this weekend, with Boston visiting Chicago, Texas traveling to Baltimore, and the Angels making a visit to America’s heartland to take on Kansas City. The Halos have swept the Royals in six games this season, while the Red have taken 14 of the last 19 in the battle of the Sox.
Elsewhere in the Junior Circuit, the league’s hottest team, the Yankees, winners of seven straight games headed into the weekend, take a trip north of the border to Toronto. This figures to be the ultimate battle of hot & not, as while New York has put together that nice winning streak, the Jays have dropped seven of eight and seem to have packed it in for the year. The Bronx Bombers have taken 10 of 13 games overall in this head-to-head series this year, including five of six in Toronto.
In the National League, there isn’t a single series in which two winning teams are playing one another, so this figures to be a weekend where only upsets will make noise. Each of the three divisions shows a comfortable margin between first & second place so the leaders will just try to continue to set the pace. Philadelphia is in Houston, St. Louis travels to Pittsburgh, and the Dodgers welcome San Diego to town.
The one N.L. race still in play is that in the wildcard race, where the Rockies and Giants are separated by just a single game. Colorado has the easier series on paper this weekend, taking on Arizona at home, while San Francisco is in Milwaukee. The D-backs have played better of late though, coming into this set on a 6-2 run. They have also played the Rockies tough in 2009, splitting 12 games. The Giants and Brewers have also split six games this year, but Milwaukee is not playing well, having slipped out of the race over the last month. If either of the two wildcard front runners slip, Atlanta & Florida, both 4-games out, will look to capitalize. The Marlins are in Washington, and the Braves are hosting the suddenly hot Reds.
Now, here’s a look at those Top StatFox Power Trends that figure to be in play for the next few days…
FLORIDA at WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON is 13-42 (-21.6 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was WASHINGTON 4.1, OPPONENT 5.9 - (Rating = 1*)
ST LOUIS at PITTSBURGH
PITTSBURGH is 5-26 (-18.3 Units) against the money line vs. NL teams allowing 4.3 or less runs/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was PITTSBURGH 3.0, OPPONENT 5.5 - (Rating = 1*)
CHICAGO CUBS at NY METS
CHICAGO CUBS are 27-38 (-14.8 Units) against the money line in road games this season. The average score was CHICAGO CUBS 3.8, OPPONENT 4.3 - (Rating = 1*)
CINCINNATI at ATLANTA
ATLANTA is 11-16 (-10.9 Units) against the money line when playing against a bad team (Win Pct. 38% to 46%) this season. The average score was ATLANTA 4.6, OPPONENT 4.4 - (Rating = 1*)
PHILADELPHIA at HOUSTON
PHILADELPHIA is 15-6 (+10.3 Units) against the money line in road games vs. an overused bullpen that pitches more than 3.2 innings per game this season. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.4, OPPONENT 3.8 - (Rating = 2*)
SAN FRANCISCO at MILWAUKEE
MILWAUKEE is 12-27 (-15.5 Units) against the money line vs. NL teams allowing 4.3 or less runs/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was MILWAUKEE 3.7, OPPONENT 5.7 - (Rating = 1*)
ARIZONA at COLORADO
COLORADO is 89-58 (+23.4 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with an on base percentage .325 or worse in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was COLORADO 5.4, OPPONENT 4.5 - (Rating = 1*)
SAN DIEGO at LA DODGERS
LA DODGERS are 50-27 (+17.7 Units) against the money line vs. an NL team with a team batting average of .250 or worse over the last 2 seasons. The average score was LA DODGERS 5.1, OPPONENT 4.2 - (Rating = 1*)
TEXAS at BALTIMORE
BALTIMORE is 8-25 (-15.9 Units) against the money line vs. a good bullpen that converts on 75%+ of their save opportunities this season. The average score was BALTIMORE 4.8, OPPONENT 6.8 - (Rating = 1*)
NY YANKEES at TORONTO
TORONTO is 7-22 (-16.0 Units) against the money line vs. AL teams allowing 4.7 or less runs/game in the second half of the season this season. The average score was TORONTO 4.3, OPPONENT 5.6 - (Rating = 2*)
MINNESOTA at CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND is 14-25 (-13.2 Units) against the money line in home games when playing against a team with a winning record this season. The average score was CLEVELAND 4.3, OPPONENT 4.7 - (Rating = 1*)
DETROIT at TAMPA BAY
DETROIT is 12-32 (-18.3 Units) against the money line in road games when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 54% to 62%) in the second half of the season over the last 3 seasons. The average score was DETROIT 4.2, OPPONENT 5.9 - (Rating = 1*)
LA ANGELS at KANSAS CITY
LA ANGELS are 18-4 (+13.1 Units) against the money line vs. teams outscored by opp by 0.5 or more runs/game in the second half of the season over the last 2 seasons. The average score was LA ANGELS 6.6, OPPONENT 4.8 - (Rating = 2*)
BOSTON at CHI WHITE SOX
BOSTON is 11-16 (-11.9 Units) against the money line vs. an AL team with a team batting average of .260 or worse this season. The average score was BOSTON 4.7, OPPONENT 5.0 - (Rating = 2*)
SEATTLE at OAKLAND
OAKLAND is 5-18 (-14.8 Units) against the money line when playing against a marginal winning team (Win Pct. 51% to 54%) this season. The average score was OAKLAND 3.9, OPPONENT 5.4 - (Rating = 3*)