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Weekend MLB Series Preview: New York Yankees Vs. New York Mets
Friday’s Pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.40 ERA) vs. Steven Matz (3-0, 1.88 ERA)
Tanaka gives the Yankees their best shot at victory all weekend. Tanaka was very impressive in his last start, stifling the Toronto Blue Jays – the highest scoring team in the MLB. The Mets offense has certainly improved since the All-Star break, posting the second most runs scored and fourth most home runs in the Majors.
Matz made his Major League debut at the end of June this has been great in his four sporadically spread out starts. His biggest weakness has been the long ball – giving up 4 over 24 innings pitched. This bods well for the Yankees, who rank third in team home runs with 198 which is 40 more than the Mets have this season.
Saturday’s Probable Pitchers: Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.25 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (8-6, 3.20 ERA)
Pineda has been a modest disappointment this season. After posting an ERA of 1.89 and WHIP of 0.83 over 13 starts in 2014, Pineda has regressed across most major statistical categories. His only notable improvement has been in his strikeout ability, jumping from 7 to 8.8 over 9 innings pitched in 2015. Pineda was superb in his lone start against the Mets in his career, allowing 1 run over 7.2 innings and striking out 7.
Another rookie for the Mets this season is Noah Syndergaard. An intimidating presence on the mound, at 6’6” and 240 lbs, Syndergaard has all the intangibles of an ace in the making and has been a major contributor to the Mets success this season. With a WHIP of 1.098 and 9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings, the young pitcher has a rare mix of power and control and if he had pitched from the beginning of 2015 would be a strong candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.
Sunday’s Probable Pitchers: CC Sabathia (4-9, 4.93 ERA) vs. Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.88 ERA)
About to be counted down and out, old and unreliable, CC Sabathia has begun to quiet his critics. Over his past 6 starts, he has been able to lower his ERA from 5.54 to 4.93 – which is still quite high but at least finally below 5. If Sabathia can continue to pitch better over the reminder of September and into October, the former CY Young winner can once again be a critical part of a Yankees team bound for the post season.
Matt Harvey’s great season has been somewhat diminished over the past few weeks due to the constant discussion involving his innings limit and whether he will be available for the playoffs. All the recent hubbub – which has affected him over his two starts – has died down a bit and that should allow Harvey to get back on track in what could very well be the rubber match of the weekend series.
Something to Watch
The last time both New York teams made the playoffs was in 2006, with each time winning their divisions and finishing with an identical record of 97-65. Neither team is likely to win 97, but each team has a legitimate shoot of playing meaningful baseball in October. From the 2006 season and onward – including their 3 game series earlier this year – the Yankees lead the series 29-24. The Mets over that period of time have been relatively mediocre, while the Yankees have not posted a losing record. The Mets should narrow the gap this weekend, as this is by far the best Mets the Yankees have faced over that stretch. When the Yankees and Mets played earlier this season, the Mets were without the services of their All-Star third baseman David Wright – out with injury - and the explosive Yoenis Cespedes - who was acquired at the trade deadline.
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