"I think it's exciting the first time you play, when you do it the first time," Jason Giambi said. "Afterward, it kind of loses a little bit. The first time, of course, there's two New York teams and everybody is fired up for it. They made a lot of changes since then, so it'll be different playing them."
"It makes for a good atmosphere and that always makes it fun for us to play, and it's better than playing a team that no one really gets into," Derek Jeter added. "I think it's better for the fans than the players."
The Mets are a changed organization, now wielding Jerry Manuel at the helm instead of Willie Randolph, who filled out the lineup cards when these two clubs last met in the Bronx.
But the Yankees have a new look as well -- right-hander Dan Giese, a 31-year-old journeyman, will start the Yankee Stadium game, and veteran Sidney Ponson will come off the scrap heap to pitch the nightcap across the Triboro Bridge at Shea Stadium.
As for the Mets, they'll throw right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who has never faced the Yankees, in the day game, then send 211-game winner Pedro Martinez to the mound in the nightcap.
Johnny Damon recalls how much of an event Martinez's starts always were at Fenway Park during his Red Sox heyday, with fans arriving early just to cheer Martinez on that long walk from the dugout to the bullpen.
"It was definitely an honor to be his teammate," Damon said. "The electricity he brought to that place was pretty awesome."
Martinez will be making just his sixth start of the season after coming back from injury, but Giambi said he watched one of Pedro's recent starts and knew the same competitive spirit was present and accounted for.
"It's all there, the brilliance he had his whole career," Giambi said. "He still knows how to pitch. That's the fun part. I know he's coming back [from injury], but there are times he looks like vintage Pedro. That's what it's all about."
As they do during these Subway clashes at Shea, the Yankees plan to spend as much time as possible in the Bronx, performing their cage work there and reporting late to Queens. When the hour comes, the Yankees will board buses and receive the benefit of a police motorcade up the Major Deegan Expressway, a luxury not available to your average rush-hour commuter navigating traffic on a summer Friday afternoon.
"To be honest with you, I don't really think the two-stadium thing is that big of a deal," Jeter said. "We've got that [police] escort and we get from one stadium to the next in 15 minutes. If anything, it breaks it up a little bit."
The scheduling will be a touch more difficult for the Yankees, who were in Pittsburgh on Thursday evening and were expected to land in New York in the wee hours of Friday morning. The energy boost of having to rush to make a bus to the second game could be a benefit.
"It's going to be tough, especially with an early game and a quick turnaround," Giambi said. "I think it'll make the day go by a little bit faster, going to different ballparks instead of sitting there and being tired after the first game. It actually might help out."
"Obviously, the schedule isn't favorable to us, there's no doubt about that, but you have to go through it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Mother Nature took the game away from us, and there's not a lot you can do about it."
The Yankees and Mets have twice played intracity twin bills before. The first was on July 8, 2000, when Dwight Gooden defeated the Mets, 4-2, in the day game at Shea Stadium, and the Yankees won by the same score in the Yankee Stadium nightcap, a game marked by Roger Clemens hitting Mike Piazza in the helmet with a fastball.
The second twin bill, on June 28, 2003, bore out the same result -- a Yankees sweep -- under more muted circumstances. Clemens beat Jeremy Griffiths, 7-1, in the first game at Yankee Stadium, and Brandon Claussen got the victory over Tom Glavine in a 9-8 decision at Shea Stadium that evening.
"It's a long day," Jeter said. "Any split doubleheader is a long day."
NYY: RHP Dan Giese (1-2, 0.64 ERA)
Giese threw an impressive 6 2/3 innings in his Major League starting debut against the Reds on Saturday. The right-hander recorded outs quickly and avoided long at-bats, throwing only 75 pitches. Of those 75 tosses, 53 were strikes. Giese was tagged for three unearned runs to pick up the tough-luck loss. He gave up just four hits and struck out five with no walks. The righty's one mistake was a throwing error to second that blew a double-play opportunity. Giese retired 20 of the 25 hitters he faced.
NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-6, 4.30 ERA)
Pelfrey walked five batters last Sunday at Coors Field, but he managed to pitch out of multiple jams and blank the Rockies over 5 2/3 innings. He was inefficient -- but effective, nonetheless -- throwing 98 pitches and allowing three hits. Pelfrey will start the first half of Friday's doubleheader against the Yankees. He has never faced the Yankees in his career.
NYY: RHP Sidney Ponson (4-1, 3.88)
The veteran Ponson starts the second game in this two-stadium Subway Series. Ponson was 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts for the Rangers this season before he was designated for assignment due to off-the-field issues. Ponson made his Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre debut last Saturday, giving up one run through four innings in a tuneup for the Mets. He is 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA in three career starts against the Mets, though he hasn't faced them since 2003.
NYM: RHP Pedro Martinez (2-1, 6.57)
Martinez appeared to be cruising on Saturday against the Rockies, until he allowed six runs on seven hits in the fifth inning. Serving up home runs on each of his first two pitches in the inning, Martinez retired only one batter before giving way to the bullpen. He threw 75 pitches, walking one and allowing nine hits in all. Martinez last faced the Yankees in 2006, shutting them out over seven innings at Shea.
2008 Interleague schedule
May 16 vs. Mets: Postponed
May 17 vs. Mets: Lost, 7-4
May 18 vs. Mets: Lost, 11-2
June 13 at Astros: Won, 2-1
June 14 at Astros: Won, 8-4
June 15 at Astros: Won, 13-0
June 17 vs. Padres: Won, 8-0
June 18 vs. Padres: Won, 8-5
June 19 vs. Padres: Won, 2-1
June 20 vs. Reds: Lost, 4-2
June 21 vs. Reds: Lost, 6-0
June 22 vs. Reds: Won, 4-1
June 24 at Pirates: Lost, 12-5
June 25 at Pirates: Won, 10-0
June 26 at Pirates: Postponed
June 27-29 vs. Mets
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Catcher Jorge Posada is expected to catch Giese in the first game at Yankee Stadium and rest for the nightcap, with Jose Molina the likely starter. Posada will then catch on Saturday. ... The Yankees plan to only have batting practice in the cages before the nightcap. ... Girardi said the Yankees could continue to carry three catchers even after Interleague Play ends. Chad Moeller has had just two at-bats since June 3.
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Official game notes
WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)
Saturday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 8-5, 4.04) at Mets (Johan Santana, 7-6, 2.93), 3:55 p.m. ET
Sunday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 4-5, 4.50) at Mets (Oliver Perez, 5-5, 5.29), 1:10 p.m. ET
Monday: Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 2-2, 2.03) vs. Rangers (Scott Feldman, 1-3, 4.60), 7:05 p.m. ET