From now until the end of the season, we will be tracking the progress of the Yankees with their 1998 World Championship team, which won 114 games in the regular season.
Through 73 Games:
Friday night: Tampa Bay 2, Yankees 1
Tampa Bay got the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Willy Adames got an RBI single, followed by a C.J. Cron sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 2-0.
The Yankees got a run back in the seventh when Aaron Judge got an RBI single, but that was all the offense they could muster as they left nine on base.
For Tampa Bay, this was one of the their “bullpen games,” as Ryne Stanek threw an inning to start, and was followed by Ryan Yarbrough, who went 3 1/3 innings, in which he allowed no runs, a hit and three walks, with four strikeouts, to earn the win and improve to 6-3 on the season.
CC Sabathia took the loss for the Yankees, as he went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on nine hits and a walk, with four strikeouts. He is now 4-3 on the season with a 3.18 ERA.
June 26, 1998: Yankees 8, Mets 4
In the first game of the lone three-game Subway Series of 1998 (they went to six games the following season), the Yankees beat the Mets 8-4 on a Friday night.
This game is known for Paul O’Neill’s three-run home run into the left field bleachers off Mets reliever Mel Rojas in the seventh inning to give them a 6-4 lead.
After the Mets got a run in the bottom of the first, the Yankees tied it in the fourth on a Jorge Posada RBI single, followed by a Chuck Knoblauch RBI single in the fifth that made it 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brian McRae and Edgardo Alfonso each hit solo homers to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Scott Brosius had an RBI single to tie it in the top of the sixth, but the Mets took the lead right back when Carlos Baerga had an RBI groundout to make it 4-3.
The top of the seventh started with Tino Martinez striking out, followed by a Chuck Knoblauch walk and a Derek Jeter single.
That was all for Mets starter Al Leiter, who was pulled for Mel Rojas.
It made no sense to pull Leiter, a lefty, for Rojas, a righty, to face the left-handed swinging O’Neill.
O’Neill launched the three-run shot to make it 6-4, and then the Yankees tacked on two more in the eighth against another Mets reliever Brian Bohanon, as Knoblauch and Jeter got RBI singles to put it away.
Hideki Irabu started this one for the Yankees, and he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
Ramiro Mendoza got the win as he went 2 2/3 innings, allowing non runs, a hit, no walks, with three strikeouts. He improved to 5-1 on the season, as he started the year as a starter.
Mariano Rivera earned his 19th save of the season as he came on with one out in the ninth and closed it out.
Al Leiter took the loss for the Mets, as he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, with six strikeouts, to fall to 9-4 on the season.
Where they stand: With the loss Friday night, the 2018 Yankees (50-23) dropped a game off the pace of the 1998 Yankees, who were 54-19 through 73 games.