Fresh off the All-Star break, the Yankees get back into gear with a three-game series against their crosstown rivals. The Mets enter this matchup as the NL East’s cellar dwellers. Their dreadful 39 - 55 record stands out as a testament to their pitiful season, especially considering they got off to an 11 - 1 start. While the baseball world waits to see if the Wilpons will blow up the team and start over, there’s baseball to be played. What looks like an easy series on the surface level may actually prove quite the challenge for the Bombers.
Game One: Domingo German vs. Noah Syndergaard
German starting the first game after the break illustrates how badly the Yankees need pitching help. Injuries thrust the 25-year-old into the rotation, and he’s been pretty bad across 12 starts. The right-hander owns a 5.49 ERA (4.42 FIP) with a 1.60 HR/9. German tossed six innings of three-run ball against the Mets back in June. Considering his opponent, he better hope better results on Friday.
Syndergaard, on the other hand, has pitched to a 2.97 ERA with a 2.63 FIP. He’s battled injuries this season, but that hasn’t prevented him from being effective. Thor missed the Yankees when they visited Citi Field in June. There’s no secret with him, though. He throws hard and pounds the zone. That’s a scary combination. The Yankees will have their work cut out for them.
Game Two: Sonny Gray vs. Steven Matz
There’s no denying it. Gray is having a flat-out terrible season. He pitched to a 5.46 ERA in the first half. His peripherals didn’t inspire any confidence either. A 4.34 FIP, especially when paired with a 3.87 BB/9 and 1.09 HR/9, makes for a pitcher who’s difficult to watch. Gray dodged the Mets during the first round of the Subway Series, so they have yet to see him. Factor in his last start against the Orioles, six innings of shutout ball, and there’s maybe some hope he can have a better stretch run.
The 2018 season has been a mixed bag for Matz. The southpaw owns a 3.38 ERA but a 4.81 FIP. Like Gray, he allowed too many walks (3.47 BB/9) and home runs (1.41 HR/9) in the first half. He drew the Yankees back in June, and allowed three runs over six innings. That included a pair of homers and four walks. That’s the typical Matz experience these days.
Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Jacob deGrom
The last time Tanaka pitched against the Mets, he departed the game with a pair of strained hamstrings. Thankfully he that he will only pitch on Sunday night. One of the many reasons that’s a good is because Tanaka needs to focus on his pitching. He had a disappointing start to the 2018 campaign, running up 4.54 ERA (4.90 FIP) across 83.1 innings. He pitched fine against Cleveland, but Tanaka has been hampered by the home run ball all year. He owns a career worst 1.94 HR/9. Cross your fingers he gets that on track.
In deGrom, the Yankees will face the arm they covet the most at the trade deadline. The 30-year-old represents everything the Bombers want and need, but apparently can’t have. He’s been an ace for a long time, but deGrom has been otherworldly good this season. His 1.68 ERA and 2.32 FIP serve as a testament to that. The right-hander faced the Yankees back in June, taking a tough-luck loss after pitching eight innings worth of three-run (two earned) ball. He deserves better, namely pitching for a contender that’s just across town.
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