The Mets and Yankees are still looking up at the leaders within their respective divisions, but they both have easy assignments this weekend that could help them get closer to the top of the standings. The Mets host the NL-worst Braves while the Yankees face the AL-worst Twins at Target Field.
Matt Harvey (4-8, 4.66 ERA) has allowed just two earned runs in his last 20 innings of work. He’ll be looking to carry that momentum into Friday night’s divisional tilt with Atlanta. Harvey will have to keep the ball away from the Braves’ young center fielder Mallex Smith; he tagged Harvey for a hit and a homer in a May 3 meeting, and is batting over .300 in the month of June.
John Gant (0-1, 5.63 ERA) makes his second start of the year; he was thrown to the wolves last week when he started against the Chicago Cubs, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks in that game before being yanked in the fifth inning. Gant, who was drafted by the Mets in 21st round in 2011, has yet to face his former team.
Steven Matz (7-3, 2.71 ERA) will try to bounce back from two straight losing outings on Saturday night. Matz has been outstanding against the Braves in three career starts (3-0, 1.42 ERA).
Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.59 ERA), who was hit hard in his season debut against the Mets earlier this year (three runs on six hits and two walks with just one strikeout in 5.1 IP), responds for Atlanta. Asdrubal Cabrera and Curtis Granderson each reached base twice against Blair that day.
Jacob deGrom (3-2, 2.80 ERA) seeks his first win since April 30 in Sunday’s finale, and while his strikeout numbers have gone up (33 in his last four games), so have his walks (eight) and runs allowed (eight).
Julio Teheran (2-6, 2.85 ERA) will be his opposite number. Despite steadily decreasing his ERA in his last ten starts (from 5.64 to 2.85), Teheran only just picked up his second win of the season. The Mets have struggled against Atlanta’s ace in the past, especially the ailing Juan Lagares and Neil Walker (5-for-28 combined).
Yankees – Twins
Friday night will see Masahiro Tanaka (3-2, 3.08 ERA) attempt to rebound from a shaky start against the Tigers on June 11, in which he allowed two homers and five total runs in 6.1 frames. Tanaka is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two career starts against Minnesota.
Pat Dean (1-2, 4.17 ERA) counters for the Twins. The southpaw’s first season in the big leagues has been nothing to write home about, but he is holding batters to a respectable .236 average at home. The Yankees are 8-13 in games started by a lefty this season.
Michael Pineda (3-7, 5.88 ERA) had a horrid 7.52 ERA in May but has begun June with two straight quality starts. He’ll have to watch out for Brian Dozier in Saturday’s contest, as he’s been swinging a hot bat this month (.321 average) after a slow start.
Ricky Nolasco (3-4, 5.12 ERA) will be pitted against Pineda. Among the Bombers with longtime success against Nolasco are Brian McCann (.339 average, eight homers in 62 ABs) and Carlos Beltran (.333 average in 48 ABs).
Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 4.42 ERA) and Ervin Santana (1-6, 4.77 ERA) square off in the finale. Eovaldi has been awful so far in June (9.82 ERA), but has been successful against the Twins in the past (2-0, 3.00 ERA in two starts).
Santana has lost five straight decisions, giving up five earned runs in each of his last three outings. Minnesota is a dismal 1-11 in games started by Santana this season.