Game of the Year: Subway Series Gets Heated

While you may or may not have been watching the Chicago Bears being the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football, the Subway Series got quite testy on Sunday Night Baseball. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, tempers started to boil on the Mets side Saturday night. The Mets thought the Yankees had picked up on starting pitcher Taijuan Walker tipping pitches and signaling to the hitter with whistles. Then, following Francisco Lindor‘s second of three home runs on the night, the shortstop seemingly referenced to it in his home run trot. Giving a “whistling” sign to the Yankees dugout.

The game would only get even more heated from there between the crosstown rivals. With the Yankees down 6-4 in the seventh, Giancarlo Stanton came up with one man on with two outs. On a 1-0 fastball from Brad Hand, Stanton crushed it left field to tie it. As he got into his trot, the mammoth outfielder slowed down going around second, as he and Lindor exchanged words. The benches cleared with players from both teams jumping up. All while Lindor and Javier Baez kept throwing “talk” and “come at me” signs to the Yankees. While the NFL had much of the spotlight on Sunday, the Yankees and Mets said “hold my beer.” Amongst the chaos, the fans got loud and were on their feet for the rest of the night. The brawl didn’t last too long, as players calmed down and returned to gameplay.

It doesn’t seem there will be any fallout from the brawl. The Mets and Yankees don’t play the rest of the season, and no one was tossed from the game. So, with about three weeks remaining in the regular season, none of the players involved look to be receiving any suspensions. Or fines for that matter. If it escalated any further, that would be a different story.

Lindor Knows Big Moments

Getting back to the play on the field, both teams would twirl scoreless half innings in the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth. Then with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Lindor got another shot to break the Yankees’ hearts. The former Cleveland Indian would face Chad Green, who got Jonathan Villar to pop up to start the inning. Lindor was familiar with Green coming in, despite being just 1-for-8 with two walks and two strikeouts in his career against him. The one hit he had against the right-handed reliever was a big one, which was likely going through his mind. As he stepped up to the plate with Citi Field rocking, let’s flashback to 2017.

Going into Game 2 of the ALDS that year, the Yankees were down one game to none. They would have the large task of facing that year’s American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber with the risk of falling down two games to none. But the Yankees made it look easy in tagging Kluber for six runs in just the first three innings and knocking him out of the game. They would add two more on a Greg Bird homer in the fifth to get out to an 8-3 lead.

It looked like the Bombers were in a position to tie the series. That was until Green got into trouble in the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third, Green “hit” Lonnie Chisenhall to load the bases. But in reality, the fastball hit the knob of Chisenhall’s bat, but then Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi failed to challenge it. The next batter was Lindor, who was 0-for-2 in the game. He launched a hanging 1-0 slider off the right-field foul pole to get Cleveland to within one and send Progressive Field into oblivion. The Indians wound up winning the game, but the Yankees would come back to take the series. Nevertheless, Lindor came up clutch and had a career moment.

Lindor Gets the Last Laugh

Back to Sunday’s action, Lindor spit on the first two borderline pitches and got the calls. Green tried to sneak a 2-0 fastball by Lindor, but it got way too much of the plate. Especially when Lindor had already smashed two homers earlier in the game. The 27-year-old did not miss it, as he sent the pitch into the right-field seats while taking the roof off Citi Field, and probably causing Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez to need a new pair of drawers.

“Coming up to the box, I did want to hit a home run,” Lindor stated postgame.

The Yankees would threaten in the ninth against Edwin Diaz, with none other than Stanton coming up with two on. But with two outs, the former National League MVP popped out to who else but Lindor to end the threat and the game. Mets won 8-7 to take two out of three and the season series.

The Yankees said after the game that the whistling had nothing to do with relaying signs. Stanton said that Wandy Peralta was whistling in the dugout the first few innings “to bring some noise”.

“The last couple of nights, we’ve just been loud over there,” Boone said. “Not doing anything.”

Season Impact

With the win and the series win, the playoff hopes are very much alive for the Mets. They are now five games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East and three games back of the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres for the second wild card. The Mets are back to .500 (72-72) after playing .500 ball over their last ten games. Their remaining schedule is pretty tough, but they control their fate with series against the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies still to come. They also have series against the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, and Miami Marlins.

The Yankees have been in a tailspin since winning 13 games in a row. Since then, they have gone 3-12 while losing four series in a row. Now for the first time since August 16, they are out of playoff position. That doesn’t mean their fate is sealed, but they need to take care of business moving forward. Their fate is in their own hands, as they finish the season with three straight series against their division foes in front of them. Meanwhile, two of their next three series are against bottom feeders in the American League in the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers, and the other is against the Cleveland Indians.

Injury Notes

Aaron Judge had to leave the game after two at-bats after feeling some dizziness since the first inning. Aaron Boone said he spoke with Judge after the game and he is doing pretty good. Boone hopes he will be available on Monday, and for the Yankees’ sake, he has to be. Gerrit Cole went down with a hamstring injury which caused him to miss this start. In what seems like centuries before all the craziness, Clarke Schmidt started in his place after getting called up from Triple-A. Cole came through his bullpen session on Sunday okay and is on track to start on Tuesday.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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