8/1 to 8/4 Subway Series Preview: New York Mets


Will this be the least hyped Subway Series in history? Both the Yankees and Mets are reeling and on the outside of the postseason picture looking in. Not too many folks expected the Yankees to contend this year. Certainly not a majority. The Mets? Well, I had them winning the World Series before the season, so don’t listen to me. The two teams are playing a four-game home-and-home-series this week. They’ll be in Citi Field tonight and tomorrow, and Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday.

What Have They Done Lately?

The Mets rallied to beat the Rockies yesterday but they have been slumping hard of late. They dropped four straight and five of six prior to that. The Mets are 54-50 with a +9 run differential. They’re 2.5 games back of the Marlins (!) for the second wildcard spot. The Yankees are 52-52 with a -33 run differential. They’re 5.5 games out of the second wildcard spot.

Offense & Defense

Fun fact: The Yankees are not the lowest scoring baseball team in New York this year. They’re averaging 4.03 runs per game with a team 86 wRC+. The Mets are averaging 3.66 runs per game with a team 95 wRC+. They’ve put up a 58 wRC+ with runners in scoring position, by far the worst in baseball. That’s why they’re averaging so few runs despite getting a 100 wRC+ from their non-pitchers.

Anyway, holy cow are the Mets banged up. Manager Terry Collins is without an entire infield and then some. Check out their list of injured position players:

  • SS Asdrubal Cabrera (95 wRC+) — suffered a knee sprain yesterday, seeing a doctor today
  • OF Yoenis Cespedes (147 wRC+) — day-to-day with a right quad injury
  • 1B Lucas Duda (106 wRC+) — out long-term with a stress fracture in his back
  • CF Juan Lagares (88 wRC+) — will miss six weeks following thumb surgery
  • 3B Jose Reyes (104 wRC+) — out a few weeks with an intercostal strain
  • 3B David Wright (119 wRC+) — out long-term following neck surgery
Cespedes. (Getty)
Cespedes. (Getty)

That’s rough. Cespedes might be able to play at some point this series and I suppose Asdrubal could get good news from the doctor today, but man, that’s an awful lot of talent on the sidelines. You could argue the Mets are without their three best hitters right now. Maybe their four best hitters.

Right now manager Terry Collins is building his lineup around ex-Yankee RF Curtis Granderson (107 wRC+), 2B Neil Walker (107 wRC+), and 1B James Loney (114 wRC+). Young LF Michael Conforto (92 wRC+) was recently recalled from Triple-A and IF Wilmer Flores (106 wRC+) is playing pretty much everyday out of necessity. IF Kelly Johnson (79 wRC+), another ex-Yankee, will probably play third with Flores at short while Cabrera’s out.

C Travis d’Arnaud (69 wRC+) and C Rene Rivera (89 wRC+) are the catching tandem. OF Alejandro De Aza (71 wRC+), OF Brandon Nimmo (68 wRC+), and OF Justin Ruggiano (61 wRC+) are the outfield bench bats. They need a lot of them with Cespedes banged up and Lagares out. I imagine a roster move will happen today if Asdrubal gets bad news from the doctor. They can’t play this shorthanded.

Defensively, the Mets have one clearly above-average defender in Loney, who isn’t as good as he was a few years back. Johnson/Flores on the left side of the infield isn’t too pretty, though Walker is solid. Granderson is okay in right but man, he can not throw. Run on him every chance you get. Conforto is not a good left fielder and the De Aza/Nimmo/Ruggiano trio all fall into the okay to good range in the field. d’Arnaud can’t throw at all. Rivera can.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7:10pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Logan Verrett (vs. NYY)
Verrett, 26, was a Rule 5 Draft pick last year who bounced around on waivers a few times before being returned to the Mets. Now he’s in their rotation replacing Matt Harvey, who’s done for the season following surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. That’s pretty serious. Verrett has a 4.12 ERA (5.06 FIP) in 74.1 innings spread across nine starts and 18 relief appearances this year. He gets an average-ish number of grounders (44.8%), but his strikeout (15.9%), walk (10.0%), and homer (1.33 HR/9) rates all kinda stink. Righties have hit him much harder than lefties, which is the opposite of last season. As a starter, Verrett sits 90-91 mph with his four-seamer and a touch lower than that with his sinker. A low-80s slider is his main breaking ball. He also throws a mid-80s changeup and a mid-80s curveball. Pretty generic arsenal, really. There’s no standout pitch that allows Verrett to project as anything more than a swingman type.

Tuesday (7:10pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (vs. NYY)
For all the attention Harvey and Noah Syndergaard get (and deserve), the 28-year-old deGrom has been the Mets’ best pitcher the last three seasons. He owns a 2.56 ERA (3.07 FIP) in 18 starts and 112.2 innings despite a slow start and a minor lat issue in April. deGrom has excellent peripherals (24.2 K%, 5.5 BB%, 46.4 GB%, 0.80 HR/9) and also a reverse split this season, which is the opposite of the last two years. His fastball is down just a tick this year but it still sits comfortably in the mid-90s. deGrom has two out-pitch secondaries on his best days (upper-70s slider and mid-80s changeup) as well as a good fourth pitch (low-80s curve). He’s a bonafide ace.

Meet the Matz. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
Meet the Matz. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Wednesday (7:05pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. NYM) vs. LHP Steven Matz (vs. NYY)
Matz has been through an awful lot to get to where he is. The Mets took him in the second round of the 2009 draft and he didn’t throw his first pro pitch until 2012 due to Tommy John surgery and subsequent setbacks. He’s had other injury problems along the way as well. Matz, 25, has a 3.35 ERA (3.35 FIP!) in 19 starts and 113 innings, and his underlying numbers are outstanding across the board: 22.4% strikeouts, 5.7% walks, 50.3% grounders, and 0.88 HR/9. He’s been a bit better against righties than lefties in his relatively short MLB career thanks to a nasty low-to-mid-80s changeup. Matz sets it up with a mid-90s heater and will also throw an upper-80s slider and an upper-70s curve. It’s worth noting Matz is pitching with a bone spur in his elbow and it’s caused him to basically stop throwing his slider. There’s too much discomfort to use it regularly, so he picks his spots with it now.

Thursday (7:05pm ET): RHP Nathan Eovaldi (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (vs. NYY)
Earlier this year there was talk the Yankees would move Colon to the bullpen once Zack Wheeler was healthy, and, sure enough, he is now their second healthiest starter. Maybe their healthiest given deGrom’s lat issues in April. Baseball doesn’t like exciting rotations, it seems. Colon, 43, has a 3.58 ERA (4.20 FIP) in 120.2 innings this year. His strikeout (16.4%), walk (4.4%), homer (1.27 HR/9), and grounder (44.4%) are very post-2010 Bartolo-esque. Lefties have been hitting him harder than righties. Colon throws more than 90% fastballs these days — he favors his upper-80s two-seamer over his low-90s four-seamer — and when he does mix in an offspeed pitch, it’s something in the low-80s, either a slider or a changeup.

Bullpen Status

I wouldn’t call the bullpen a weakness for the Mets, but they have been looking to add another reliever prior to the trade deadline for depth. Pretty much every team does that, to be fair. Here is the bullpen Collins has to work with this year:

Closer: RHP Jeurys Familia (3.08 ERA/2.47 FIP)
Setup: RHP Addison Reed (1.81/1.93), RHP Hansel Robles (2.52/3.32)
Middle: LHP Antonio Bastardo (4.74/5.06), LHP Jerry Blevins (2.25/3.03), RHP Erik Goeddel (3.86/4.21)
Long: RHP Seth Lugo (2.61/3.14)

Familia and Reed are generally a dynamite closer/setup man combo — Familia did blow saves on back-to-back days earlier this week after converting 52 straight save chances — and those two plus Blevins each threw an inning yesterday. Lugo threw three innings and 41 pitches Saturday, which may limit his availability tonight.

The Yankees suddenly have a new look bullpen with Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller traded away. Adam Warren is back and I imagine Tyler Clippard will be in town and available tonight. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relief crew.

Saturday Links: Hicks, Revenue Sharing, Garagiola

Hicks. (Presswire)
Hicks. (Presswire)

The Yankees begin their final week of exhibition games a little later this afternoon. Only seven days of Grapefruit League play to go. Hooray for that. Here are some links to help you pass the time until today’s game thread comes along.

Hicks among Law’s top breakout candidates

Earlier this week, Keith Law (subs. req’d) posted his annual list of the top breakout candidates for the upcoming season. These are post-hype players. Guys who were once highly touted prospects, have been in a show for a little while now, and are ready to break out and live up to their potential. Aaron Hicks is among then. Here’s a snippet of Law’s write-up:

Hicks, like Schoop, came up before his bat was ready — his glove was ready, but his bat had developed gradually over the previous three years — and in hindsight it appears skipping Triple-A was the wrong move for him. He was a different hitter in 2015, becoming much less passive, taking fewer strikes and looking more for pitches to drive when he was ahead in the count. Now he’s moving to a better park for power and will have a full-time job from day one.

Hicks will not have a “full-time job from day one” — Law said he was joking about the injury and age concerns in the outfield — but he’s going to play a lot. The Yankees have made it pretty clear. It’s possible Hicks will end up starting something like four out of every five games as the regulars rest. He made some adjustments last year and it appears Hicks might indeed be on the verge of a breakout. I’m excited to see what happens this summer.

Levine takes shots at Mets over revenue sharing

According to Ken Rosenthal, Yankees team president Randy Levine took some shots at the Mets over the revenue sharing system. “What is very burdensome to us — and is unfair — is the amount of money we have to pay in revenue sharing compared, for example, to teams in our market that pay ten times less than us,” said Levine. “Hopefully that is something that will get looked at in the next labor agreement.”

The Yankees pay more money into revenue sharing than any other team — Levine said they paid roughly $90M in revenue sharing last year — because they generate more revenue than every other team. There’s no mystery here. Commissioner Rob Manfred told Rosenthal the Yankees have been very supportive of the revenue sharing system, though they are looking forward to seeing proposed changes for the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement.

I doubt Levine and the Yankees will gripe too much about the Mets or any other team — I’m sure the Yankees do plenty of fancy accounting and don’t want MLB digging too deep — but obviously they think it’s unfair they’re paying so much more than a team in the same market. We’ll see how the revenue sharing system is tweaked with the next CBA, if at all.

Joe Garagiola passes away at 90

Sad news to pass along: former Yankees announcer Joe Garagiola passed away earlier this week. He was 90. Garagiola grew up with Yogi Berra in St. Louis and the two were lifelong friends — the Cardinals signed Garagiola, not Berra, out of a tryout camp in 1943 — and he played for four teams from 1946-54. After his playing career ended, Garagiola got into broadcasting, and he called Yankees games on WPIX from 1965-67. He spent most of his career on NBC’s lead broadcasting team. Our condolences go out to Garagiola’s family and friends.

Yankees take the Subway Series with a 11-2 win behind CC’s arm and big bats


This game didn’t start well – CC Sabathia labored through the entire first inning while Matt Harvey mowed down Yankee hitters. There’s a reason why you don’t stop watching after the first few innings though – the Yankee offense took advantage of non-Harvey Mets pitchers later in the game to make this win look very, very easy. The guys from Bronx took two out of three in the enemy territory to win the Subway Series before they head up north for a crucial series versus the Blue Jays.

It’s a Sunday night. I had a long day of watching sports (attending the Redskins game, watching more NFL and MLB games and this) so let’s do this 11-2 win bullet point style.

– CC is good again?: The Mets took a quick 1-0 lead in the first only after first two hitters – both Ruben Tejada and David Wright hit a double each (on 0-2 counts, go figure). By then all of us were wondering if we were in for a long night of CC struggling and bullpen laboring. Well, CC did have to work a lot to get out of the first inning without any more damage – he loaded the bases with two outs with a pair of walks but induced a Michael Cuddyer pop out to escape.

For the rest of the night, Sabathia was brilliant. He only allowed three more hits in five innings while striking out five more. Thanks to the offense imploding post-Harvey, CC earned his first win since July 8, which, in my opinion, is a long time ago (a lot of things happened to me in that time period). After being a thorn on the side for the Yankee rotation until early August, Sabathia is making a strong case to be a playoff starter now, who would’ve thought?

– The top of sixth: So you probably know about this Matt Harvey pitch count deal. Well, Harvey was just dealing tonight, allowing only one hit in five scoreless innings. Starting in the sixth, though, Terry Collins took Harvey out and put in Hansel Robles as the first reliever. Jacoby Ellsbury reached second to lead off on an infield single and Daniel Murphy’s throwing error. Brett Gardner followed it up with a fielder’s choice grounder that Wright botched. That was not a pretty sight for Mets fans and it got worse for them. Carlos Beltran, whom they booed mercilessly all this weekend, hit a go-ahead double to put the Yanks on top, 2-1. Three batters later, with two outs and two on, Dustin Ackley homered to right to make it 5-1. Dustin Ackley! The man has been on fire as a Yankee (1.057 OPS in 22 AB prior to tonight’s game). I doubt he keeps that up but it would be nice if a change of scenery/being coached by new people in new org somehow tapped that former second overall pick potential. Only time will tell but it’s awesome to see Brian Cashman‘s sole deadline acquisition pay off pretty neatly.

– More runs!: Yankees scored another in seventh thanks to a bases-loaded walk to Chase Headley by Eric O’Flaherty. In the top of eighth, facing Carlos Torres and Tim Stauffer, they tacked on five more. Ellsbury drove in Rico Noel (pinch-running for A-Rod) to make it 7-1. Torres struck Gardner out but walked Beltran before getting yanked for Stauffer. Brian McCann followed it up with an RBI single for a 8-1 lead and Greg Bird hit a dinger to left-center to make it 11-1. Holy cow, did anyone imagine this kind of outburst when the lineup was being shut down by Harvey? Chris Capuano would allow a run in the next frame to shorten the lead to 11-2 but that was pretty much it.

Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings, video highlights and WPA.

Source: FanGraphs

So that series win was a plus to any Yankee fan’s night, right? Well, they are about to face the Blue Jays for the next four days – we’ll see how we feel after that series.

Yankees shut Mets out 5-0 thanks to Big Mike, big homers

How do you rebound from a tough loss? With a shutout win the next afternoon. The Yankees beat the Mets 5-0 in a not so quick yet well-played game Saturday afternoon. It was their fourth shutout and 81st win of the season. Hooray for clinching a .500 record.


More Early Runs
Once again, the Yankees scored in the first inning. They lead baseball with 117 first inning runs this season — the Rockies are next with 107 — and they scored three within the first three batters Saturday afternoon. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner led the inning off with back-to-back bloop singles — they were eerily similar; same arc, same spot, the whole nine — then Carlos Beltran followed with a no-doubt three-run homer into the second deck in right. Quick 3-0 lead.

Both Gardner and Beltran recorded their hits in 0-2 counts and I was hopeful that was an indication Noah Syndergaard was off his game a bit. Instead, he settled right down and retired the next 12 batters he faced. The Yankees didn’t have another base-runner until Dustin Ackley smacked a leadoff triple in the fifth. The run didn’t score though. Didi Gregorius and Michael Pineda struck out, and Ellsbury grounded out. The run felt doomed to be stranded as soon as Didi struck out. Can’t count on the pitcher and the current version of Ellsbury to get the run in there.


The Return of Big Mike
Pineda’s first four starts off the DL were pretty crummy. He allowed 14 runs in 21.2 innings in those starts, and the Mets have been tearing the cover off the ball of late, so Saturday afternoon was going to be a big test for Big Mike. The Yankees are going to need him to be better these last two weeks, and Pineda aced Saturday’s test, throwing 5.1 shutout innings. He struck out four, walked one, and allowed four singles. That’s all.

Joe Girardi went to his bullpen surprisingly early (more on that in a sec) even though Pineda appeared to have plenty left in the tank. Either way, this was Pineda’s best outing since his forearm injury by far. I remember two hard-hit balls: Chase Headley made a fabulous diving grab to his right on Wilmer Flores’ ground ball in the second, then Ellsbury ran down a line drive in the right-center field gap later in the game. I don’t remember who hit it, I just remember Ellsbury chasing it down. Pineda was pretty awesome. More of this Big Mike going forward, please.

Insurance Runs
Like I said, Syndergaard handled the Yankees very well after giving up Beltran’s home run, at least until the sixth inning rolled around. Beltran laced a one-out single to center and Brian McCann followed with a mammoth two-run home run in the bullpens. It was a very aesthetically pleasing home run. Syndergaard threw a fastball right into McCann’s bat path and the follow through left zero doubt the ball was gone. McCann put a great swing on that pitch. It looked good and it gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead in the sixth.


Panic Time
I think we reached peak Girardi panic mode in the bottom of the sixth. Pineda was cruising along, then he allowed two soft singles — Kelly Johnson hit a grounder to beat the shift and Curtis Granderson blooped a ball to left — leading off the inning, and Girardi had the bullpen working. Pineda rebounded to strike out Yoenis Cespedes on three pitches … and that was it. Afternoon over at 86 pitches.

Know what the weird thing was? I totally expected it. I did not, however, expect Stephen Drew to be double switched out of the game literally one out after replacing Ackley. Seriously, Drew came in for defense with a five-run lead after Ackley struck out to end the top of the sixth, which made total sense, then he was out of the game on the double switch. So weird. Anyway, Justin Wilson replaced Pineda, walked the lefty Daniel Murphy to load the bases after maybe getting squeezed, then struck out David Wright and Juan Uribe with his patented “fastball after fastball after fastball” approach.

All things considered, it worked. The Yankees need every win possible and Girardi opted for a fresh Wilson over a fatigued-ish Pineda with men on base, and Wilson escaped the jam. Was it was a curious move to pull Pineda with his pitch count so manageable and the bullpen struggling so much lately, possibly because they’re out of gas late in the season after getting 12 outs a game day after day earlier this season? Yes, of course. But clearly Girardi trusts like three guys in the bullpen and these games are too important. Whatever.

Anyway, Wilson went back out for the seventh and struck out the first two batters of the inning. He struck out four in a row — you could argue five in a row considering he was squeezed against Murphy — then gave way to Caleb Cotham, who struck out Kevin Plawecki. Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth — Yankees relievers struck out seven in a row at one point — and of course Andrew Miller had to come in for the ninth after Chris Martin made a minor mess. He allowed two infield singles, which was enough for Girardi to go to Miller. He got Travis d’Arnaud to ground out to end the game.


The first four spots in the lineup did all the damage. Ellsbury, Gardner, Beltran, and McCann went a combined 5-for-15 (.333) with two homers and both scored and drove in all five runs. The bottom five spots in the order went 2-for-19 (.105) with ten strikeouts. Ackley tripled and Greg Bird ground-rule doubled. Ackley, Drew, Brendan Ryan, and Rob Refsnyder all played second base in the last four innings.

Pineda and the various relievers combined to strike out 12 Mets on the afternoon. It was the team’s 54th game with double digit strikeouts this year. Only that sicko staff in Cleveland has more. They have 55. The Yankees lead the AL with 28 games with at least ten strikeouts and no more than two walks. They did that this game, because duh. Why else would I mention it?

And finally, for some reason the Citi Field crowd broke into a “Let’s Go Blue Jays!” chant after McCann’s homer. What the hell was that about? The Mets are in first place! Don’t worry about the Yankees, root for your own team. That’s way more fun.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Here are the box score and video highlights, and here are the updated standings and postseason odds. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to eleven. Here are our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages, and here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Mets wrap up the 2015 Subway Series with the ESPN Sunday Night Game. Blah. CC Sabathia and Matt Harvey will be the pitching matchup in the sixth game of the nine-game road trip.

9/18 to 9/20 Subway Series Preview: New York Mets

Don Draper

Time for another round of the Subway Series. This weekend is way more important to the Yankees than it is the Mets, who have a comfortable lead in the NL East. Of course, their fans seem to be worried about a potential collapse given what happened in 2007, but I’d say their lead is safe. The Yankees won two of three when these two clubs met in Yankee Stadium in late-April.

What Have The Mets Done Lately?

Lose, believe it or not. They just dropped two straight to the Marlins at home, though before that they won eight straight. The Mets are 83-63 with a +68 run differential right now. They have a comfortable eight-game lead over the Nationals. FanGraphs puts their odds to win the NL East at damn near 100%.

Offense & Defense

The Mets are averaging a 4.25 runs per game with a team 99 wRC+ this season, though that doesn’t really tell the story. They were dreadful in the first half (3.48 R/G and 85 wRC+) but have been much, much better since the All-Star break (5.46 R/G and 118 wRC+). Manager Terry Collins has a completely healthy team on the position player side right now. Two September call-ups are on the 60-day DL (Darrell Ceciliani and Wilfredo Tovar) and that’s all.

(Mitchell Layton/Getty)
(Mitchell Layton/Getty)

Much has been made of the impact of trade deadline pickup OF Yoenis Cespedes (139 wRC+), who has indeed been fantastic for the Mets (173 wRC+), but he’s not the only reason they’ve started scoring runs. C Travis d’Arnaud (152 wRC+) returned from the DL and is quietly one of the best hitting catchers in the game. 3B David Wright (130 wRC+) came off the DL as well. SS Wilmer Flores (98 wRC+) has been hitting since he was nearly traded for Carlos Gomez, and OF Michael Conforto (156 wRC+) has been mashing since he was called up as well.

Of course, ex-Yankee OF Curtis Granderson (131 wRC+) has been their best player since Opening Day, and 1B Lucas Duda (122 wRC+) has been good, but not what he was a year ago. 1B/OF Michael Cuddyer (101 wRC+) has been reduced to a platoon player and 2B Daniel Murphy (99 wRC+) has gotten things straightened out after a slow start. IF Ruben Tejada (98 wRC+), OF Juan Lagares (82 wRC+), 3B Juan Uribe (102 wRC+), and UTIL Kelly Johnson (112 wRC+) are the supporting cast. Among the September call-ups on the roster are C Kevin Plawecki, C Johnny Monell, C Anthony Recker, UTIL Eric Campbell, IF Dilson Herrera, and pinch-runner OF Eric Young Jr.

The Mets are a pretty strong defensive club, though Cuddyer, Flores, and Murphy are definitely below-average. Cespedes is a good defender with a strong arm — he’s been playing center field — and both Granderson and Conforto are solid in the corners. You can run on Grandy’s arm though. Wright, Tejada, and Uribe are above-average defenders as well. d’Arnaud is about average at controlling the running game and currently rates as one of the top pitch-framers in baseball.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. NYM) vs. LHP Steven Matz (No vs. NYY)
Matz, a local kid from Stony Brook, has a 1.88 ERA (4.73 FIP) in four starts and 24 big league innings around a lat injury this season. His strikeout (22.9%) and grounder (48.4%) rates are a tick above-average, though walks (9.4%) have been a bit of an issue, as have home runs (1.50 HR/9). Lefties (.299 wOBA) have had more success against him than righties (.273 wOBA) so far, but that’s sample size noise. He’s faced 25 left-handed batters since being brought up. Matz, 24, pitches off a mid-90s sinker with a hammer upper-70s curveball and a quality low-80s changeup. He is very good. The only issue here is health. Matz has had all sorts of injury problems in his career. He had not yet been called up when the Yankees and Mets played earlier this season.

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (No vs. NYY)
The Mets acquired Syndergaard in the R.A. Dickey trade a few years ago and the 23-year-old has a 3.20 ERA (3.28 FIP) in 21 starts and 129.1 innings this season, his MLB debut. His strikeout (26.2%) and walk (5.7%) numbers are excellent while his grounder (45.8%) and homer (1.04 HR/9) numbers are about league average. Left-handed hitters (.286 wOBA) have hit Syndergaard a bit harder than righties (.277 wOBA), and it’s worth noting he’s been way better at home (2.15 ERA and 2.98 FIP) than on the road (4.47 ERA and 3.64 FIP) as a big leaguer. Syndergaard has a huge fastball — only Nathan Eovaldi (96.6 mph) has a higher average fastball velocity than Syndergaard (96.4) among the 130 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season — and he uses it to set up his power low-80s curveball and upper-80s changeup. Everything this guy throws is hard. Like Matz, Syndergaard was still in the minors when the Yankees and Mets played in Yankee Stadium.

(Todd Kirkland/Getty)
Syndergaard. (Todd Kirkland/Getty)

Sunday (8pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. NYM) vs. RHP Matt Harvey (vs. NYY)
The Mets have the 26-year-old Harvey on a very strict schedule right now, and rumor has it he will be limited to five innings Sunday night. We’ll see. He’s thrown 171.2 innings across 26 starts in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, pitching to a 2.88 ERA (3.30 FIP) with dynamite peripherals: 23.9 K%, 5.3 BB%, 46.1 GB%, and 0.94 HR/9. Harvey has been hit much harder by lefties (.303 wOBA) than righties (.241 wOBA) this year. He works with a mid-to-upper-90s heater and has a devastating upper-80s slider. He’ll also throw quality mid-80s changeups and low-80s curveballs. Harvey is one of the very few pitchers who legitimately takes four out pitches to the mound on his best days. He and Felix Hernandez are pretty much the only guys who can say that. Harvey’s shown he’s an adrenaline junkie, so expect him to be amped up for the ESPN Sunday Night game. He held the Yankees to two runs in 8.2 innings back in late-April.

Bullpen Status
Like the Yankees, the Mets had an off-day yesterday, so their bullpen is as fresh as it’s going to get in mid-September. Closer RHP Jeurys Familia (1.63 ERA/2.70 FIP) has been brilliant this season, and these days he’s being set up by ex-Yankee RHP Tyler Clippard (2.77/4.41) and RHP Addison Reed (3.44/2.82). RHP Hansel Robles (3.33/3.41) and RHP Erik Goeddel (2.70/2.71) have also had nice years. Goeddel missed a bunch of time with an elbow issue, however.

The one thing the Mets lack is a reliable left-on-left matchup reliever. Rule 5 Draft pick LHP Sean Gilmartin (2.87/2.55) has had a nice year, but he has a big reverse split (.301 vs. .244 wOBA in favor of lefties) and is more of a long man than a matchup guy. LHP Eric O’Flaherty (7.67/4.44) hasn’t been good at all. RHP Bobby Parnell (5.82/4.21) is having a rough go of it following Tommy John surgery and RHP Carlos Torres (4.45/3.60) is the do-everything rubber arm guy. RHP Tim Stauffer, LHP Dario Alvarez, and RHP Logan Verrett are the September call-ups. Verrett’s the sixth starter more than anything. They’ve been using him to give the other starters extra rest, not out of the bullpen.

Our Bullpen Workload page can keep you updated on Joe Girardi‘s bullpen, which has been rather shaky of late. Hopefully the off-day did those guys some good. Head over to Amazin’ Avenue and Metsblog for everything you need to know about the Mets.

(GIF via Mets Police)

Game 18: Make It Five

(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Last night’s series opening win over the Mets was easily the most satisfying win of the young season. Right? I can’t be the only one who feels that way. Know what would make it even better? Winning this afternoon’s game too. The Yankees have won four straight and seven of their last eight games. OMG they are soooo hot right now.

Like Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda the last two days, CC Sabathia is making his first start of the year on regular season. All of his Spring Training and regular season starts to date have come with an extra day of rest, which was totally by design as the team looks to take it easy on the veteran southpaw and his surgically repaired knee. Here is the Mets’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Chris Young
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s a lovely afternoon for baseball in New York. A little on the cool side but the sky is clear and blue. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 4:05pm ET and you can watch live on WPIX and SNY locally as well as FOX Sports 1 nationally. Enjoy the game.

Teixeira homers twice, Yankees beat Mets 6-1 in Subway Series opener

Source: FanGraphs

The streak lives on. No, not the Mets’ eleven-game winning streak. That sucker’s over. The Yankees extended their winning streak to four games with a 6-1 humbling of a Mets team that seemed to be getting a little too big for their britches less than three weeks into the season. The Bombers have won seven of their last eight games overall. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Large Michael: I think that was the best Michael Pineda has looked as a Yankee. He had it all working. Cutters, sharp sliders, a filthy changeup he apparently woke up with one morning in Spring Training … it was all going. Pineda carved the Mets up for 7.2 innings, allowing just one garbage time run (infield single, wild pitch, advance on a fly ball, sac fly) on five hits. He struck out seven, walked no one, and recorded 17 of 23 outs on the infield. Seventy-eight of his 100 pitches were strikes. Seventy-eight! Only five of 28 hitters saw a first pitch ball. Brilliance.
  • deBombed: It started right in the very first inning. Brett Gardner ripped a single to center and Mark Teixeira skied a high home run into the second deck in right field for quick 2-0 lead. It was just inside the foul pole. Two innings later, Jacoby Ellsbury blasted a cheap Yankee Stadium solo homer and Teixeira followed with another two-run homer a few batters later. It was basically identical to first homer. The Yankees were up 5-0 just 13 batters into the game. Jacob deGrom didn’t know what hit him. (They were homers. Too many of ’em.)
  • Leftovers: The sixth run scored on two singles, a walk, and a Stephen Drew sac fly. The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh but didn’t score. Blah … Chasen Shreve recorded the final four outs without making it interesting … the top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 9-for-20 (.450), the bottom four went 2-for-14 (.143) … for only the second time this year, a Yankee threw 100+ pitches in a start and Pineda threw 100 on the nose. (Nathan Eovaldi threw 101 in Baltimore.)

Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and Announcer Standings. The Yankees and Mets will continue the Subway Series on Saturday afternoon. That’ll be CC Sabathia against Matt Harvey. Fun fact: Sabathia was starting his seventh year as a big leaguer when he was Harvey’s age.