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Let's get it on
Pettitte, Leiter set for Bronx duel in Game 1
BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- It's "Who Let The Dogs Out?" against "New York, New York." It's Timo against Tino. It's the seven train against the four train.
However way you look at it, it's the New York Mets against the New York Yankees tonight in Game 1 of the first subway World Series in 44 years.
Although both teams are separated by about eight miles, they took far different routes to get where they stand now. The Yankees were stretched to the limit in the Division Series against the upstart Oakland Athletics. Seattle also flexed its muscles against the two-time defending champions, but the Yankees proved to be too much and won their 37th and third straight American League pennant in six games.
Conversely, the Mets had a tad bit of an easier time reaching their first World Series in 16 years. After coming back to win a 10-inning Game 2 contest against San Francisco in the NLDS, they rolled to take that series in four games. Despite playing the St. Louis Cardinals, who defeated the Atlanta Braves in three straight in the Division Series, the Mets earned their fourth National League pennant with a five-game triumph.
The Yankees are bidding to become the first team to win three straight World Series titles since the 1972-74 Athletics, and also are seeking their fourth championship in five years.
The Mets, on the other hand, have been living in the shadow of their Bronx rivals and have not won a World Series championship since the magical 1986 season, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox in an unforgetable seven-game series.
The two teams battled already this season during interleague play, with the Yankees winning four of the six games. Since the two teams began playing interleague contests in 1997, the Yankees hold an 11-7 edge against the Mets.
All of the questions about the Yankees' lack of hitting down the stretch have been temporarily answered. Tino Martinez and David Justice each delivered huge blows in the ALCS, including Justice's three-run homer in the clincher. Even Paul O'Neill appears to have started chipping in with hits to all fields.
Those three -- all lefthanded hitters -- will be put to the test right away when the Mets send veteran lefthander and former Yankee Al Leiter to the hill for the opener. However, the Yankees are hitting .291 as a team against lefthanders this season.
The Mets have actually been more vulnerable to lefthanded pitching than the Yankees. The Mets hit only .231 against lefties this year and in Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' starter in Game One, they will be facing one of the best.
Pettitte will be making his first home postseason start and first outing at Yankee Stadium since defeating the Detroit Tigers on September 24. His last outing came in Game Three of the ALCS against Seattle, when he limited the Mariners to two runs in 6 2/3 innings for the victory.
Pettitte has won six of his last seven postseason decisions and has not lost a playoff game since Game Three of the 1998 ALCS against Cleveland during a 6-1 setback. In the World Series he is 2-1 with a 4.98 ERA.
In two starts against the Mets this season, Pettitte split the decisions. Ironically, he won a start when he was reached for five runs in seven innings. In the game he lost, Pettitte yielded just two runs over 6 1/3 solid frames during the Yankees' 2-0 blanking at Shea Stadium on July 9.
Leiter, who got the start ahead of fellow lefthander Mike Hampton, is searching for his first victory of the 2000 postseason. He has pitched brilliantly and the Mets have won both starts, but both games have been dramatic late-inning triumphs.
Leiter is making his fourth World Series appearance -- the third in which he will pitch -- and first since 1997, when he was with the Florida Marlins. He is 1-0 with a 6.11 ERA in five career Fall Classic games.
Like Pettitte, Leiter has split decisions in his two starts against the Yankees. He allowed two earned runs in each of the outings, but came out on the short end of a 2-1 loss on July 7.
In 14 lifetime regular season outings against New York, Leiter is 4-5.
The Mets split their previous Game Ones in the postseason, while the Yankees are 0-2 in Game 1 in this postseason.
First pitch at Yankee Stadium tonight is scheduled for approximately 8:00 p.m. EDT.
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