The Mets and Yankees both battle divisional opponents in their first series back from the All-Star break; the Mets travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies while the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox.
Michael Pineda (3-8, 5.38 ERA) will try to stifle the Red Sox bats in Friday night’s series opener, but he’s allowed Boston to hit .289 in two meetings this year. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. have all given him fits in the past (14-for-45 combined).
Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 8.59 ERA) makes his first start back from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. Rodriguez is just one of many Red Sox starters having problems this season (4.72 starter ERA). However, the Yankees have struggled all year long with jumping out to quick leads; they’re next-to-last in baseball in first-inning runs (0.36 per game). Alex Rodriguez, who could be in line for a start against the southpaw, has five hits in 11 ABs against him.
CC Sabathia (5-6, 3.77 ERA) saw his ERA climb about a full point in his last four outings before the All-Star break; he’ll try to buck that trend on Saturday. Sabathia has held recent Red Sox pickup Aaron Hill to a .107 average in 28 ABs.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright (10-5, 2.68 ERA) has been the Red Sox most reliable starter this year, and he takes the hill for them on Saturday. Wright has stumped the Bombers throughout his career, allowing a meager .125 average in 72 combined ABs.
Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.23 ERA) goes for New York in Sunday night’s series finale; he’s 4-2 with a 4.79 ERA in eight career starts against Boston. Tanaka will try to improve on his 5.05 ERA at home this season.
David Price (9-6, 4.34 ERA), who the Yankees are incredibly familiar with, gets the call on Sunday. Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s hitting .333 in July, is a .348 lifetime hitter against Price (66 ABs).
Mets – Phillies
Bartolo Colon (7-4, 3.28 ERA) gets the ball for the Mets in the series opener. Colon held the Phillies’ lineup in check in his two starts against them this year (.220 BAA in 12 IP).
Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 3.92 ERA) answers for Philadelphia. He’s turned in four straight quality starts but Mets batters have had his number throughout his career. Yoenis Cespedes is 5-for-12 with two home runs against the journeyman right-hander while Jose Reyes, who went into the break off a two-home run game, is 8-for-21.
Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.34 ERA) takes the mound for Saturday night’s tilt. Verrett has only gone past six innings once in six starts this year, due in large part to his high walk rate (13 in his last three starts).
Jerad Eickhoff (6-10, 3.80 ERA) is 0-2 against New York this year but has a 3.00 ERA in those two starts (12 IP). He’ll have a good chance to improve those numbers on Saturday, as Eickhoff sports a strong 2.40 ERA in nine outings at Citizen’s Bank Park this season.
The series concludes on Sunday, and Jacob deGrom (5-4, 2.61 ERA) gets the call. deGrom, who threw a career-high 117 pitches in his last start before the break, held the Phillies to just one run on five hits last time he faced them (April 8).
The Mets get their first look at Zach Eflin (2-2, 4.08 ERA) on Sunday, and his high ERA on the year is belied by his last two performances (three runs allowed in 15 IP). Eflin makes just his seventh career appearance in the big leagues.