The New York Mets through 12 games were 11-1. The New York Yankees were 6-6 through their first 12 games. Yes, this was a thing that actually happened. Both teams have gone in opposite directions since the first two weeks of the regular season, though.
Entering the first Subway Series of the season, the Mets have gone a dreadful 16-31, while the Yankees have gone an absurd 34-12 since that opening 12-game stretch. The Mets have lost six straight games, scoring seven runs in that span. All of those games have come at Citi Field. The Yankees, however, will lose the DH over the weekend series and will have to go through the Mets’ three best starters Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Thor, er, Noah Syndergaard. It’s definitely a trap-type series, if those things exist.
The saving grace for the Yankees is that the Mets’ offense is quite a mess. Jose Bautista is patrolling left field, Adrian Gonzalez is manning first base, Devin Mesoraco is behind the plate and Jose Reyes has played 41 games. Jay Bruce has been brutal in right field. The Mets are sort of like the east coast San Francisco Giants, in which entering the season they still had their calendars set to 2014 and thought that these players were going to be difference-makers.
In actuality, we believe, the Mets have no real farm system to replace key players such as Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares and Todd Frazier. It’s forced the Mets to put together a lineup with duct tape, and they have paid the price with an older roster. Brandon Nimmo has been a bright spot, however, with a .267/.407/.533 slash line in 50 games.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Yankees keep humming along. They swept a two-game set in Toronto and have won seven of their last eight games. Unfortunately, they remain a game behind the Boston Red Sox entering Thursday.
In game one, the Yankees will trot out Masahiro Tanaka against Jacob deGrom. The Mets’ starter is having a career-year, already with 3.0 fWAR, fourth-best in the majors behind Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Luis Severino. He has an absurd 12.19 K/9 and has a 1.49 ERA and 1.94 FIP. Right now, Scherzer is the National League Cy Young favorite, but deGrom is the clear runner-up. Tanaka is in the midst of a disappointing season. He has career highs in HR/9 (2.00) and BB/9 (2.39) and a career-low GB rate (44.9%). It’s not a good combination for a pitcher. He has been worth only 0.4 fWAR, which ranks 73rd in the majors.
The Yankees will face Steven Matz in the second game. He has a 3.42 ERA and 5.11 FIP, so he has benefited from good fortune, thanks to a .243 BABIP. He has 3.93 BB/9 and only pitched 52.2 innings in 11 starts. Domingo German is projected to go for the Yankees. While originally just being a spot starter, he’s suddenly become a very important pitcher for the Yankees after it was announced Jordan Montgomery will have season-ending Tommy John surgery. German has mostly struggled since his first start; maybe a weak Mets lineup will yield positive results.
In the series finale, maybe the most fascinating pitching matchup of the season for both teams will take place: Luis Severino against Noah Syndergaard. Severino has firmly entrenched himself as one of the game’s premier starters and the Yankees have 12 of his 13 starts this season. Syndergaard hasn’t quite been as dominant, but is one of the game’s most talented pitchers. He has been worth 1.9 fWAR in 11 starts, good for 12th in the majors. It’s certainly reasonable to suggest Severino has become the best pitcher for either New York team, but Syndergaard and deGrom remain two of the game’s top 10.
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