After a couple days across the pond and a couple wins while over there, the Yankees are heading back to New York, but not back to Yankee Stadium just yet. The Yankees now will play a pair of games against the Mets, who have arguably had an even crazier last couple weeks than the team that went to London.
Just since June 21st, Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas have had an extremely public tiff with a reporter. They’ve blown leads in five of their last seven games, including one that broke Mike Francesa’s brain. There’s been reports that the general manager has been making in-game decisions from home. Oh, and they said two living members of the 1969 Mets were dead, and then spelled one of the names wrong in their apology for that.
The teams appear to be headed in different direction, as the Yankees added 4.5 games to their lead in the AL East last month, while the Mets have fallen seven games further behind in the NL East just since June 11th. However, baseball can be weird in small sample sizes, and a two-game set is just that. Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for the next two days.
Game one: James Paxton vs. Zack Wheeler
Since returning from the IL, Paxton has added almost a run and a quarter to his ERA, and over a run and a half following his first start in that stretch, which was legitimately good. One of his starts since returning was against the Mets, which was arguably his worst of the season. Paxton lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing six runs at Yankee Stadium on June 11th. Getting another crack at a struggling Mets team seems like a decent chance to turn things around, but the offense hasn’t necessarily been the problem for said team.
Wheeler is coming in on a bit of a hot streak, having allowed just two runs in 13 innings across his last two starts. A couple starts before that, though, was a hammering he took at the hands of the Yankees. On that day, Wheeler was tagged for nine runs (only five earned, thanks Todd Frazier) on 10 hits in 4.2 innings.
Game two: TBA vs. Jason Vargas
At time of writing, the Yankees haven’t announced who will get the ball for Wednesday’s game.
As for Vargas, his inexplicably solid season continues. Last time out, he struck out ten Phillies in a 6.1 inning outing, where he allowed just three hits. (The Mets still lost that game, of course.) Vargas had a sub-3.00 ERA in June, including a strong outing against the Yankees. He had mostly struggled prior to the calendar changing month, so we’ll see if he’s generally good now or if it was just some June magic.