This weekend the Mets will travel to Cleveland for a three-game set with the Indians, while the Yankees stay home to face the Seattle Mariners.
The story of the Mets’ season so far has been a worrisome lack of hitting. They are a league-worst .194 batting as a team going into the weekend, so they’ll be looking to get back in sync in the “Sixth City.”
Bartolo Colon kicks off the series on Friday night. Colon took the loss on April 9 to the Phillies, but the only blemish on his otherwise-stellar line was a home run surrendered to Ryan Howard in a 1-0 defeat.
Opposing Colon will be Cody Anderson. He surrendered just two runs on six hits to the White Sox in a no-decision in his only start of 2016 so far. The Mets have never faced Anderson before, but they’d better scrutinize the tape of him from last September; he was 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA in six starts to close out his rookie season.
Saturday afternoon’s game will feature Matt Harvey and Josh Tomlin on the mound. Harvey was solid through five innings against the Phillies last Sunday, allowing just one run to score, before serving up a two-run homer that sealed the Mets’ fate in a 5-2 loss. Harvey, usually among the league leaders in strikeouts, has posted a surprisingly low five K’s in his first two starts.
Tomlin will be making his season debut, as the expected fifth starter had his first opportunity to pitch rained out last week. His career numbers are modest; 36-30 with a 4.65 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. The Mets might have a chance at knocking Tomlin out early to get to the Indians’ woeful bullpen that’s currently ranked 28th in ERA.
Sunday’s series finale will see Steven Matz trying to rebound off his horrid start on April 11 in which he surrendered seven runs in less than two innings of work. Corey Kluber, the 2014 AL Cy Young Winner, will be his adversary. He too has gotten off to a shaky start in 2016, posting an 0-2 record with an ERA of 4.85.
Yankees vs. Mariners
Luis Severino will get the ball for the Yankees in Friday night’s contest. Severino was tagged for three runs on 10 hits in just five innings of work in Detroit to start his season, but the 3-6 Mariners appear to be a much easier assignment.
His opposite number will be Nathan Karns, whom the Yankees are familiar with from his days with the Rays. The only player with a home run against Karns in 64 combined at-bats is Alex Rodriguez.
On Saturday afternoon the Yankees will get another chance to tee off on “King Felix” Hernandez. No, that’s not a misprint. In 219 combined at-bats, the Yankees have hit a robust .283 against the Mariners’ ace with eight home runs (Mark Teixeira has six of those).
C.C. Sabathia, who did his share in Detroit while his teammates knocked around Mike Pelfrey in his first 2016 start, will toe the rubber for the Yankees in this tilt. The Mariners had no problem making contact against the veteran southpaw last year, as they connected at a .319 clip in two games against him in 2015 (11.2 IP).
The three-game set concludes on Sunday afternoon, as former Japanese All-Stars Hisashi Iwakuma and Masahiro Tanaka will square off for their respective clubs. The notoriously streaky Iwakuma has started 2016 off poorly; in two starts he’s 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP in just 11.0 IP.
Tanaka hasn’t gone beyond six innings in his first two starts either and got into some trouble against the Blue Jays last time by walking four batters. But he’s kept his team in both games by allowing only two runs in each of his first two starts. He has yet to earn a decision this year.