The Yankees’ road trip could have gone better. They went just 2-4 against the Blue Jays and Indians, losing their outright division lead in the process. Now they get to come back home, where they’ll have two games against some old friends.
The Mets are coming to Yankee Stadium, and things this season have been suitably Mets-like. Not only are they just below .500, but yesterday they put Robinson Cano back on the injured list after they quite possibly brought him back too early following an earlier IL stint.
Despite that, the Mets aren’t a team to take lightly, with the likes of Pete Alonso mashing dingers. Before things kick off tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for the two-game set in the Bronx.
Monday: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Jason Vargas
Tanaka is back following his paternity leave, where he’ll be looking to bounce back from a couple substandard starts in a row. His two previous outings has seen Tanaka’s ERA rise by about half a run, as he’s given up eight earned runs in 12 innings across them. Luckily, he’s put up pretty good numbers against the Mets so far in his career. Also, this game is at home and not at Citi Field, where he infamously was hurt running the bases last year.
As Tanaka has been struggling, Jason Vargas has improbably been going the other way. The 36-year-old had an ERA over 14 in mid-April, but that is now down to 3.57. He is coming off a complete game shutout win over the Giants, where he allowed just five hits and one walk. Since the end of April, Vargas has allowed six total runs across five starts. It’s pretty weird.
Tuesday: James Paxton vs. Zack Wheeler
After an impressive return from the IL against the Padres, Paxton ran into some trouble against the Blue Jays last Wednesday. Despite that, you would expect him to be at least solid in this game considering what he’s done on the season. Also, unless he struggles again, he should be able to go longer into the game with this being his third start since his return.
As for the Mets, imagine telling yourself in 2012-13 that Vargas would be the better performing of these two pitchers in 2019. Wheeler was a top five prospect in baseball according to some outlets back then, yet here he is with an 86 ERA+ right now. It’s still only early June, so he could still end up having a good season, even with his mediocre first couple months.
Despite Wheeler having been in the Mets organization for years, he’s only faced the Yankees once. He was knocked out early after allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. Good news for him is that four of those runs were driven in by Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann, none of whom he will be facing today, unless some really weird roster moves go down in the next couple hours.