The New York Mets (39-55) begin the second half of the 2018 season with a series in the Bronx with the crosstown rival New York Yankees (62-33). Despite the record disparity in both teams, this series always has the chance to be full of unpredictable moments, both good and bad depending on which team you root for.
Before the All-Star break, the Mets split four games with the Nationals, which included Noah Syndergaard’s return to the rotation and one of Zack Wheeler’s strongest starts in a Met uniform. Amed Rosario has shown marked improvement over his last eight games, hitting .346 with a 1.062 OPS, and is starting to showcase what the Mets had been hoping to see from him this season.
The Mets will finally see the return of Yoenis Cespedes, who, thanks to American League rules, will be the designated hitter at Yankee Stadium. After a two-month absence rife with rehab setbacks, Cespedes will look to put his quad and hip issues behind him. Will he be seeing some time at first base after making his debut at the position Wednesday in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League? In a season where many things have not gone the way they were planned, it would not be surprising to see at this point.
The Yankees, despite trailing Boston by four-and-a-half games in the American League East, have looked like a major force to be reckoned with come October. They will be looking to add a starter by the non-waiver trade deadline. J.A. Happ of Toronto and Tyson Ross of San Diego are names that have been on the Yankees’ radar recently—besides what seems to be the entire Mets rotation. The team’s rotation after ace Luis Severino and veteran CC Sabathia has been inconsistent at best. Luckily for the Mets, they won’t have to face Severino or Sabathia this time around.
Even with catcher Gary Sanchez and second baseman Gleyber Torres on the disabled list, the lineup has seen production from one through nine in the batting order. Backup catcher Austin Romine has done an excellent job filling in for Sanchez, boasting a respectable .825 OPS. Miguel Andujar continues his breakout season at third base with a .279/.316/.489 line, while Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have led the way in the long ball department with 25 and 23 homers, respectively.
Friday, July 20: Noah Syndergaard vs. Domingo German, 7:05 p.m. on SNY
Syndergaard (2018): 69.2 IP, 79 K, 15 BB, 5 HR, 2.97 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 1.22 WHIP
Syndergaard came back from the disabled list with a solid five-inning outing last Friday, striking out three, walking two, and allowing one run. After a limited pitch count and pulled after 75 pitches, he will likely have more pitches to work with as he makes his first career start at Yankee Stadium.
German (2018): 78.2 IP, 92 K, 30 BB, 14 HR, 5.49 ERA, 4.42 FIP, 1.29 WHIP
With rumors brewing of the Yankees wanting to improve their rotation, German will be pitching to remain with the team in some capacity, either in the bullpen or staying in the rotation. He’ll have to do better than his last start against the Indians on Friday, during which he coughed up six runs on five hits while walking four in four-plus innings.
Saturday, July 21: Steven Matz vs. Sonny Gray, 1:05 p.m. on WPIX
Matz (2018): 96 IP, 85 K, 37 BB, 15 HR, 3.38 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 1.25 WHIP
Matz took the loss in Thursday’s game against the Nationals after giving up two bombs to Anthony Rendon for three runs. He was able to limit the damage despite scattering eight hits and was able to strand five runners on base.
Gray (2018): 90.2 IP, 85 K, 39 BB, 11 HR, 5.46 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.51 WHIP
After two straight starts of getting pulled before the third inning, Gray had a bounce back performance in Baltimore, throwing six shutout innings with three hits allowed and eight strikeouts. His season has been incredibly up and down, and like German, he may be forced to improve to keep his spot in the rotation with the trade deadline fast approaching.
Sunday, July 22: Jacob deGrom vs. Masahiro Tanaka, 8:05 p.m. on ESPN
deGrom (2018): 123.1 IP, 149 K, 30 BB, 7 HR, 1.68 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 0.97 WHIP
deGrom pitched a respectable third inning in Tuesday’s All-Star Game up against some of the American League’s heaviest hitters. Despite giving up a solo home run to Mike Trout, which in all fairness is a rite of passage in MLB these days, deGrom was able to set down Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, and J.D. Martinez, including a strikeout to Martinez to end the frame.
Tanaka (2018): 83.1 IP, 83 K, 22 BB, 18 HR, 4.54 ERA, 4.90 FIP, 1.12 WHIP
Tanaka threw a quality start and took a no-decision in Cleveland last Sunday, going six-and-one-third innings with five strikeouts and two runs allowed on an Edwin Encarnacion home run. The long ball has been the Achillies heel for him since last season. This year, he’s had only two starts in which he didn’t give up a home run.
Prediction: Yanks take two out of three.
How will the Mets do in round two of the 2018 Subway Series?
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Mets sweep, setting the Yankees back in the AL East race
Mets take two of three to even up the season series
Yankees win two of three
Yankees sweep the Mets
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