Mets Face Pettitte

The New York Mets won the Johan Santana sweepstakes in the offseason, and now they're eager to show the Yankees what they're missing.

The Mets' new ace looks to improve on his strong numbers against the Yankees when he takes the mound Saturday to open a rain-shortened two-game Subway Series at Yankee Stadium.

Oddsmakers from have made NY Yankees -134 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on NY Yankees -134 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

The Mets (20-19) acquired Santana from Minnesota for four prospects in February and signed him to a six-year, $137.5 million contract, hoping he would become the anchor of their rotation. So far, the left-hander hasn't disappointed, going 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in eight starts.

The Yankees (20-22) were on the verge of acquiring Santana but pulled out of talks in December, opting to hang on to the young players that would have gone to the Twins. Now, they'll have to contend with the two-time Cy Young Award winner as a member of their crosstown rivals.

"You face a lot of good pitchers all year long," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's one of the best in baseball. That doesn't mean that you can't score runs. You've got to take advantage of your opportunities."

Santana is 16-4 with a 2.27 ERA in 35 interleague appearances, including 24 starts. That ERA is the lowest among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings in interleague play.

Santana has also fared well against the Yankees, going 3-0 with a 2.66 ERA in eight appearances, including five starts - his best ERA against any AL team. He's 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in four outings at Yankee Stadium.

Santana gave up three runs and a career high-tying 10 hits in six innings of a 12-6 win in the first game of a doubleheader with Cincinnati on Saturday. He threw 116 pitches, and the Mets decided to move him back a day to give him extra rest.

He got another day off after Friday's scheduled opener was rained out. It won't be made up this weekend, since the Mets already have a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday at Atlanta, but it could create a two-ballpark doubleheader during the Yankees' June 27-29 series at Shea Stadium.

The Mets could use a big game from their new ace. They dropped three of four to last-place Washington, including Thursday's 1-0 loss, and are coming off a 3-4 homestand that included a series against another last-place team, the Reds.

The Yankees also need a boost. They dropped three of four at Tampa Bay, including Thursday's 5-2 defeat, and are mired in last place in the AL East.

The Yankees, losers of six of nine, are struggling offensively with Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada on the disabled list. They managed just six runs in the four games against the Rays, only two off starters.

Rodriguez ranks first all-time with 221 interleague hits, behind teammate Derek Jeter's 254, and just ahead of Johnny Damon's 220.

"We're much better than this. We can't start blaming injuries. It's part of the game," Damon said. "We just have to deal with it, and we haven't dealt with it the right way."

The Yankees had planned to start Darrell Rasner on Friday, but instead they'll skip Rasner and give the ball to Andy Pettitte (3-4, 4.40 ERA). The Yankees have lost each of Pettitte's last four starts, with the left-hander taking the loss in three of those games.

Pettitte is coming off his shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs in just four innings Monday in a 7-1 loss at Tampa Bay.

"It's just pathetic on my part," said Pettitte, who's 7-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 16 career starts against the Mets.

"A loss bothers me. I won't sleep. It doesn't matter if I got whacked around or had a bad inning. I lost the game. I didn't do my job, and I'm not going to rest real good for the next few days."

Pettitte is just 12-13 with a 4.59 ERA in interleague play, but the Yankees own the best interleague record in baseball at 113-79 and are 35-25 against the Mets, who are 91-90 in interleague play. The teams split their six games in 2007, with each winning twice at home. Bet this game.

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