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Cole vs. Verlander, NY Rivalry and more from Subway Series

Subway Series - Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

FLUSHING, NY — Oh man, what a night at Citi Field. On Wednesday evening, in the city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, the New York Yankees and New York Mets, clashed in the battle of the inner-boroughs, making for a postseason-like atmosphere. 

And it all started with the phenomenal pitching matchup.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 44,121, the fifth largest attendance for a regular season game in Citi Field history, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole took the mound and went up against his former Astros teammate, the three-time Cy Young award winner, Justin Verlander. 

Gerrit Cole in Subway Series at Citi Field – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

This marked just their second career head-to-head matchup with the first coming on June 30th, 2015 — at the time, Cole was in his third year with the Pirates while Verlander was in the midst of his 11th season with Detroit. On a surprising note: Mets right-fielder Starling Marte, 34, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, played in both Cole vs. Verlander games. 

Nevertheless, Game 2 of the Subway Series at Citi Field is the topic at hand. 

Verlander, 40, who entered the night 14-8 in 32 career starts against the Yankees with a 3.21 ERA (including postseason), performed like his vintage self, tossing six innings of one-run ball on three hits and no walks. He finished his outing with six strikeouts on 107 pitches, 68 for strikes. 

Justin Verlander in Subway Series – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“I thought the energy was great,” Verlander said following the 4-3 win. “It’s fun to pitch in an atmosphere like that. It’s what makes the game fun.” 

“Justin gave us a chance and I think that was one of the keys of the game,” Mets skipper Buck Showalter said about Verlander. “When you’re facing a good pitcher (Cole) who’s on top of his game — the key to staying engaged and winning those games is how well your starting pitcher does.” 

As it goes for Cole, the 32-year-old right-hander was in cruise control, matching and perhaps even outshining Verlander’s dominance. In his first four innings of work, 12 up, and 12 down. Cole’s final line on the night: one earned run, four hits, no walks with eight strikeouts (95 pitches, 67 strikes). 

“It’s a pleasure to take the field with that caliber type of player,” Cole said about his former teammate Verlander in the postgame. All together, the two aces combined for 14 strikeouts with a rocking crowd behind them. 

Justin Verlander in Subway Series at Citi Field – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Cole added: “As far as the atmosphere tonight, it was electric — like playoff type. Just fun, back and forth, crowd into it, so it was just a great game to be a part of.” 

The New York Rivalry

Consider the Subway Series: “the Super Bowl of New York.” No matter where the Yankees and Mets are in their current standings, each and every matchup between the two franchises, beginning in 1997, has instant buzz paired with that ‘must-watch’ factor.

The 7 Line Army at Citi Field during Subway Series – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Overall in their NY Rivalry, the Yankees are 79-61 against the Mets all-time, which marks the highest win total by any team over any single opponent in the history of interleague play. 

Citi Field Erupts as IKF Steals Home 

In the top of the seventh inning as Brooks Raley came into the game to relieve Jeff Brigham with Isiah Kiner-Falefa on third base and two out, mayhem transpired…

Isiah Kiner-Falefa steals home in Game 2 of Subway Series at Citi Field – Image Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Kiner-Falefa along with the assistance of third-base coach Luis Rojas noticed that Mets 3B Eduardo Escobar as well as Raley weren’t paying close attention to him with his back turned and decided to go for it. And I mean go for it… 

“Just instincts, that was all instincts,” Kiner-Falefa said about stealing home. “Rojas kinda told me, ‘just go out there, don’t try to go. Just get out there and force the third baseman a little closer.’ But he didn’t acknowledge me, and the pitcher didn’t acknowledge me. They thought I was bluffing so I just went. Just trusted the instincts.” 

He became the third player in MLB history to steal home in a Subway Series game (Todd Hundley on June 16th, 1997 and Roger Cedeño on June 29th, 2002). 

Nimmo’s Last 48 Hours

To rewind to Game 1 of the Subway Series this past Tuesday in the sixth inning, Mets’ Brandon Nimmo made a costly mistake in shallow right center field, attempting to catch a line drive off the bat of Anthony Volpe, which later resulted in a run scoring. 

One night later, in the home half of the seventh, Nimmo had an additional blunder, but this time on the bases. The energetic 30-year-old tried to go first-third, but was stopped short due to the baserunner Mark Vientos ahead of him receiving the stop sign by third-base coach Joey Cora. Nimmo didn’t make it back to second in time even though the replay was as close as it could get. 

Brandon Nimmo on the bases – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

“I felt terrible about that,” Nimmo said. “I felt I let the team down. So I wanted the chance to make up for it. Waiting to hit [in the 10th inning], I told the guys I was glad I was going to get the opportunity to come through for the boys.”

And that Nimmo did. He came through when the Mets needed it most, delivering a walk-off double to deep right-field off of Yankees reliever Nick Ramirez. 

“Baseball is funny like that,” Nimmo said. “You can’t get down on yourself because there’s always another opportunity.”

Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor in Mets walk-off celebration – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Brandon Nimmo and Mets celebrate Subway Series walk-off victory – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    June 15, 2023 at 9:28 pm

    I missed the game, but your article captured the essence. Thanks.

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