This weekend the Mets host the strong but skidding Chicago Cubs, while the Yankees travel to San Diego for an interleague matchup with the Padres.
Jacob deGrom (3-4, 2.67 ERA) takes the hill in Friday night's tilt against the Cubs. He's still in search of his first win since April 30, but pitched eight shutout innings in his last start against Atlanta. deGrom will have to be especially careful with Anthony Rizzo (3-for-9 lifetime against deGrom), who carried an OPS above 1.200 in the month of June.
Jason Hammel (7-4, 2.58 ERA) counters for Chicago. Hammel is in the midst of a career year, but has lost three of his last four starts. Among the Mets with extensive prior success against Hammel are Curtis Granderson (7-for-21) and James Loney (13-for-41).
Bartolo Colon (6-4, 2.86 ERA) has been exceeding expectations all year long, and pitched a gem last July against the Cubs (7 IP, three hits, no runs). However, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, who were not on the Cubs roster at the time and are a combined 15-for-31 against Colon, will likely be in the lineup on Saturday.
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta (12-2, 2.10 ERA) responds for Chicago, and while he held the Mets to just two runs over 16 innings in the 2015 regular season, New York was able to solve him in the NLCS (four runs in five innings) on the way to a series sweep.
Noah Syndergaard (8-3, 2.49 ERA) and Jon Lester (9-3, 2.03 ERA) will face off in the finale. Syndergaard had his worst outing of the season against the Nationals on Monday night, allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in just three innings of work. The Nationals also stole five bases against Syndergaard, who has now allowed 28 stolen bases in 31 attempts. The Cubs do not steal a lot of bases (they rank 21st), but Heyward (7 SB) is capable of swiping a bag whenever necessary. Lester, who has his fair share of trouble holding baserunners at first as well, is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three lifetime starts against the Mets.
Yankees - Padres
Nathan Eovaldi (6-5, 5.19 ERA) will try to put a rocky month of June (8.65 ERA) behind him as he gets this series going for the Yankees. The longball bit Eovaldi all month long (10 HR allowed in June), but starting in pitcher-friendly Petco Park against the Padres should help, as they're only 19th in home runs hit this year.
Colin Rea (4-3, 5.05 ERA) counters for the Padres. The Yankees have never faced the sophomore right-hander who's coming off a career-high strikeout total (7) in his last outing.
Saturday’s starter is Ivan Nova (5-5, 5.32 ERA), who had a poor month of June as well (7.52 ERA), but may not have the job security that Eovaldi does. Nova's walk rate has gone up lately (10 free passes in his last 26.1 IP), but the Padres rank 25th in walks drawn this season.
Drew Pomeranz (7-7, 2.76 ERA) squares off with Nova, and he has a spiffy .190 batting average against on the year.
Chad Green (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will face Andrew Cashner (3-5, 4.75 ERA) in the finale. Green, a 25-year-old rookie, had a poor debut against the Diamondbacks on May 16 (six runs on eight hits in 4 IP). Cashner may be on a strict pitch count making his first start since June 10 due to a neck injury. Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius, who've spent time in the NL, have racked up six hits in 20 combined ABs against Cashner.