Yanks' Interleague history with Mets rich

Yanks' Interleague history with Mets rich

The Yankees will celebrate the return of National League opponents this weekend with what continues to be one of the crown jewels of Interleague Play, welcoming the Mets from across town for the Subway Series.

Freddy Garcia is scheduled to take the ball for the Bombers as they return home, preparing their scouting reports for the assortment of knuckleballs that R.A. Dickey has made a living off throwing.

Since their memorable meeting in the 2000 World Series, it would be an understatement to say the Yankees and Mets have gone in separate directions.

The Yankees erased a modest title drought in 2009, christening their new stadium with a 27th World Series championship.

Ever so close to a Fall Classic of their own in 2006, the Mets are still trying to establish a winning identity in their new home, erected just feet from where Bernie Williams sealed title No. 26 by securing a Mike Piazza fly ball on Oct. 26, 2000.

INTERLEAGUE TIDBITS
vs. NYM, May 20-22: In this season's installment of the Subway Series, the Yankees look to once again defend the Bronx after winning the 2010 home series against the Mets, 2-1.
@ CHC, June 17-19: The Yankees last faced Chicago in 2005, sweeping the Cubs, 3-0. Prior to '03, though, the Bronx Bombers swept the Cubs twice in the 1932 and '38 World Series.
@ CIN, June 20-22: Since being swept by the Reds in the 1976 World Series, the Yankees have played Cincinnati only six times. Since 2003, the Reds have won four of six meetings.
vs. COL, June 24-26: The Yankees look to continue their home unbeaten streak against the Rockies.
vs. MIL, June 28-30: The Brew Crew has never played at the new Yankee Stadium, having lost two of three to New York in Milwaukee.
Derek Jeter, SS (.332, 31 HR, 113 RBI): In 235 Interleague games, Jeter leads all current Yankees in batting average and hits.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B (.309, 47 HR, 174 RBI): Rodriguez is leading New York in home runs and RBIs during Interleague Play.
Freddy Garcia, SP (21-7, 2.72 ERA): Since playing against Interleague opponents in 1999, Garcia has dominated, posting 21 wins in 35 starts.

Still, the Subway Series always promises to bring entertainment and drama, as well as a stage on which the players feed off fans' energy. The two New York clubs split their 2010 season series, with the Yankees winning two of three in the Bronx.

"Being a [former] player, I understand how important it is to the city," Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said. "It's amazing to me. It's kind of like a playoff atmosphere to me, because of the senses of all the fans.

"When you're walking someplace, whether they're a Mets fan or a Yankees fan, there are a lot more responses. I think it's enjoyable, and I think it's great for the game."

Interleague Play will also take the Yankees on the road next month, as they pay their first visit to Wrigley Field in eight years, meeting the Chicago Cubs for a three-game series from June 17-19.

The Yankees also hosted the Cubs at the old Yankee Stadium in 2005, sweeping them in a three-game set, and of course Chicago had the honors of helping open the new Yankee Stadium in a two-game exhibition series.

From there, New York will make the short jump to Cincinnati for a three-game series June 20-22, when Derek Jeter's pursuit of a 3,000th hit could be in full force.

That might be fitting; it was at Cincinnati in 2003 when, with the team scuffling, then-principal owner George M. Steinbrenner decided the time was right to name Jeter as the first team captain since Don Mattingly.

An announcement was hastily scheduled in the basement of old Cinergy Field; the Yankees haven't been back to Cincinnati since, though they did go 1-2 against the Reds in New York back in 2008.

The Rockies will come to New York from June 24-26, figuring to set up a friendly return for former Yankees slugger Jason Giambi. It will be the Yankees' third all-time meeting with Colorado and their first since they were swept in three games at Coors Field in 2007.

New York will wrap up Interleague Play by hosting the Brewers from June 28-30 at Yankee Stadium, an old familiar American League opponent but one they haven't seen since 2005, when the Yankees visited Milwaukee.

Interleague Play will conclude for the Yankees with a trip across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge -- formerly Triboro -- from July 1-3, when they'll visit Citi Field, the Brooklyn Dodgers-themed throwback park where they have four wins in six games.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bryanhoch. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.