"I think there's a lot of excitement no matter what when these two teams get together," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of the inherent interest in the Subway Series. "The Mets have really been swinging the bat and playing well, there's no doubt about it. It's an exciting time for New York, and I think we all look forward to it."
Both teams, in fact, are playing some of their best baseball of the season. The Yankees will ride a season-best five-game winning streak into Friday's series opener, and the Mets will return home to Citi Field on the strength of a successful two-city road trip that was fueled by their oddly resurgent offense.
"When we went to Yankee Stadium, we were playing very good baseball," said Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. "We won the first game, and then we were playing .500. Right now, we're one game over .500, so we're feeling good."
The Mets dropped a 5-2 decision in Thursday's series finale against the Tigers, but they made some headlines with their batting order earlier in the week. The club scored at least eight runs in four straight games to tie a team record and set another franchise mark by totaling 52 runs in a four-game span.
The Mets, in fact, went 4-2 against Texas and Detroit despite being outhomered by a 15-5 margin. They're batting .385 (79-for-205) in their last five games, and Friday's series opener will see the Mets trying to continue that inertia against Ivan Nova, who will be opposed by Jonathon Niese.
"I know they are playing really good -- they have a really good team," said Nova. "I know I'm going to have a lot of run support from my teammates, too, so I've just got to keep my team in the game and pitch a good game."
The two New York teams have split this season series four times in the past six seasons, and the Yankees will come into this road set with a 2-1 edge. The Mets are 8-7 in Interleague Play this season and 126-118 all time, while the Yankees have clinched a winning Interleague record for the 12th straight year.
"It's fun, because it creates great excitement in the city," said Mets manager Terry Collins of the importance of playing well against the Yankees. "You've got to get up for it. Everybody gets up for playing the Yankees, and we need to also. If you're going to have Interleague Play, this is the fun part of Interleague Play."
Yankees: Granderson gets a breather
Curtis Granderson got a day off in Thursday's 5-0 victory over the Brewers, but he's off to one of the most productive starts for a Yankee in recent memory. The center fielder is batting .276 with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs, and he's the first big leaguer to reach 70 runs scored by the end of June since the 2008 season.
Granderson's homer and RBI total are his highest through this point of the year, and he became New York's first left-handed batter to hit 20 home runs in the first 62 games since Tino Martinez in 1997. Granderson is also the first Yankees outfielder to have that many early homers since Mickey Mantle in Roger Maris in '61.
Mets: Niese ready to go
Niese left his last start with a rapid heartbeat, and he was run through an extensive battery of precautionary tests to make sure that he was all right. Niese had experienced that sensation -- a medical condition called tachycardia -- before, but he didn't think it was a big deal and was relieved to be cleared to pitch.
"I knew it was all just precautionary," Niese said of the medical tests. "I'm just glad it's over with."
The Yankees are a season-high 17 games over .500 and have had a winning record on every day of the season since Opening Day. ... Wednesday's game marked the first time in franchise history that the Mets had won a game despite not hitting any home runs and allowing their opponent to hit five or more. ... The Yankees are 23-4 during day games, the best record of any Major League team in those circumstances. ... Niese has never faced the Yankees and has never pitched against any of the players on their current roster.