All aboard! First-place Yanks, Mets ride Subway tonight

Alex Rodriguez, Terry CollinsThis Subway Series is a battle of winners: this marks the first time that the Mets and Yankees have gone head-to-head with each club owning at least a share of first place in their respective divisions, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Definitely, I think it’s great for the city,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You look at the Mets and they’ve won 11 in a row and had a perfect homestand. Obviously it’s very exciting over there. And then the way we’ve played the last seven games to go out on this road trip, we’re excited about what we’re doing. I think it’s really good for the city.”

This showdown will come with a new generation of players. For the first time, neither roster will include a player who was active for that first Yankees-Mets game in 1997. These teams split four games in 2014, with each team winning two games in the opponents’ ballpark.

Michael Pineda (2-0, 5.00) will try for his third consecutive victory tonight, taking on the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (2-1, 0.93). It’s going to be a chilly night in the Bronx, with game-time temperatures expected to be in the high 30s. Here are some quick hits as we get ready for the first of three:

  • Bernie Williams, Jean AftermanBernie Williams announced his retirement (finally!) in a press conference tonight. Accompanied by GM Brian Cashman and assistant GM Jean Afterman, Williams signed a Minor League contract with the Class-A Staten Island Yankees, paused for a few seconds, then put pen to paper on his MLB retirement papers. Williams’ last game was in October 2006, and his next stop is enshrinement in Monument Park on May 24.
  • Looking at the top five hitters in the Mets lineup, which has lefties in Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy, Girardi said that it is possible he could reverse his eighth and ninth inning bullpen alignment. Thus far, Andrew Miller is 6-for-6 in save chances, while Dellin Betances has been working in the seventh and eighth innings. Miller and Betances have combined to throw 16 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.
  • Chris Young isn’t in the lineup tonight, but he was among the most popular people on the field during batting practice. Young’s time with the Mets was a disappointment, as much for him as for the team, but he has found a new home here in the Bronx. “It was a fresh start and that’s all you can attribute it to,” he said. “A few balls dropped my way and I got some opportunities to play on a consistent basis. I was able to find my way a little bit.”
  • Happy 38th birthday, Carlos Beltran. He’s a .241 hitter with two homers in 13 games on his birthday.
  • The meaning of the Subway Series, according to Girardi: “I think it’s bragging rights for an evening and then it’s bragging rights for an entire offseason. I know fans for both clubs. I know people who are friends of mine are Mets fans, and I have to listen to them, so it’s really important to me, too.”

Here are the lineups:

METS (13-3)
Curtis Granderson rf
Juan Lagares cf
Lucas Duda 1b
Michael Cuddyer dh
Daniel Murphy 2b
Eric Campbell 3b
Wilmer Flores ss
Kevin Plawecki c
Kirk Nieuwenhuis lf

Jacob deGrom rhp

YANKEES (9-7)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Alex Rodriguez dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Carlos Beltran rf
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew 2b
Didi Gregorius ss

Michael Pineda rhp

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