The New York Mets may have revenge on their minds this evening when they kick off the latest edition of the Subway Series against the Yankees at Citi Field.
It was just two weeks ago that the Yankees swept the Mets in the Bronx, triggering a 10-game winning streak that ended with back-to-back losses to the Atlanta Braves, including a 10-5 setback on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees hit four home runs in the loss, but starter Phil Hughes (7-6) gave up four of his own and Boone Logan served up another.
While the Yankees lead the majors with 105 home runs, they have had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position. They were just 2-for-11 in such situations on Wednesday and their .218 average with RISP is among the lowest in the majors.
"I don't think that our guys have really tried to do too much most of the time, it's just not happening," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "I believe it's something that's going to change but it is something that has to get better."
Even with the two losses to the Braves, the Yankees have won 18 of their last 23 interleague games dating back to last season. They also hold a 2 1/2-game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
Tonight, the Yanks turn to lefty Andy Pettitte, who didn't get a decision his last time out against Washington. Pettitte pitched well, though, allowing just two runs and five hits in seven innings. He also walked three and struck out six, but remained at 3-2 to go along with a 2.77 ERA.
Pettitte did not get a decision against the Mets two starts ago and is 8-5 lifetime against them with a 3.66 ERA in 20 starts.
Pettitte may have his hands full tonight with a Mets team that enters tonight's tilt on the heels of sweeping the Baltimore Orioles after a 4-3 win on Wednesday.
Dillon Gee gave the Mets their third straight spectacular effort on the mound and closer Frank Francisco worked around some trouble in the ninth to record his 17th save of the season.
"He's my closer and actually he's been throwing great," Mets manager Terry Collins reasoned as to why he left Francisco in the game. "He hasn't been out there very much. He needs the work."
David Wright went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored once for the Mets, while Scott Hairston doubled twice and also knocked in a run.
Hoping to keep the Mets strong run of starting pitching going tonight will be lefty Jonathon Niese, who is 4-3 with a 3.82 ERA. Niese lost to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, as he allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings.
He pitched well against Pettitte and the Yankees on June 10, though, surrendering just two unearned runs in seven innings of a 5-4 loss. Niese is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts versus the Yanks.
The Yankees are 7-2 against the Mets since the start of last season.
"Citi Field's going to be rocking this weekend," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "A very good atmosphere, very good team."