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Yankees, Mets both tackle unfamiliar opponents this weekend

Joe Girardi grabs the ball from Masahiro Tanaka last week. Getty Images

Interleague series rule the final weekend of August as the Yankees travel to Atlanta to tussle with the Braves while the Mets stay home to play the cellar-dwelling Red Sox.

This will be the first time the Yankees have played the Braves since 2012, when the Bombers took four of six games from Atlanta. Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball for the Yankees on Friday, coming off a shaky start against the Tribe where he allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out only three. Tanaka has had good numbers in limited opportunities against Braves hitters; in particular Nick Markakis is just 1-for-7 against him. Williams Perez counters for the Braves and he has been awful lately. The Braves have lost in his last five starts and Perez is 0-4 in that span. He couldn’t finish five innings against the Cubs in his last start and gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks.

Saturday features an up-and-coming starter for each club, with the Yankees sending out Luis Severino to face Matt Wisler. Severino picked up his first major league win pitching six innings of one-run ball against Cleveland last weekend. Wisler, acquired from the Padres in the Justin Upton trade, has had trouble going deep into games (he’s only gone past 6.0 IP twice this season) and hasn’t won a start since July 26. This could give the Yankees a chance to get at the Braves’ 24th ranked bullpen.

The series finale sees Nathan Eovaldi squaring off with Julio Teheran. Eovaldi hasn’t lost a start since June 16 and the Yankees are 10-2 in games Eovaldi starts since that date. Eovaldi comes off a gem against the Astros where he allowed just four hits in eight innings of shutout baseball. Teheran has an ERA over 4.00 this year but his home/away splits are dramatic; at home Teheran must be taken seriously as his ERA is 2.55 in 13 starts.

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The Mets face an unfamiliar foe in Henry Owens when they begin their three-game stand with the Red Sox on Friday. Owens was just called up this month and has yielded mixed results. All told, Owens has pitched 24 innings in four starts, has an ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP of 1.21, not very intimidating numbers. The Mets respond with a fresh Matt Harvey, who had a start skipped in order to rest his arm. Harvey has complained in the past about getting extra rest, but while his K/BB ratio on six days or more of rest is much lower compared to the standard four days of rest (3.39 vs. 5.53), opponents bat just .169 vs. a well-rested Harvey compared to .221 when Harvey is on regular rest.

The Mets will see another new face for Boston on Saturday in Eduardo Rodriguez, and he has been a bright spot in a season filled with dark days for the Red Sox. Rodriguez has similar home/ road splits but in day games his ERA is a horrid 9.27 (seven starts) compared to a 1.67 ERA in night games (nine starts). Jacob deGrom will face the Red Sox for the first time, and he’ll be trying to recover from a dreadful start against the Phillies where he gave up seven runs in less than three strenuous innings.

Sunday’s series finale features Joe Kelly and Noah Syndergaard for the Red Sox and Mets, respectively. Kelly has an ERA above five on the year after getting off to a miserable start but he’s won his last five decisions, and he hasn’t allowed over two runs in a start since Aug.1. The going has been rough for Syndergaard lately as he’s allowed at least three earned runs in his last four starts but at home “Thor” is 3-0 in four starts with a 1.78 ERA.

Probables for Yankees/Braves

Friday – Tanaka (9-6, 3.61) vs. Perez (4-4, 4.76)

Saturday – Severino (1-2, 2.74) vs. Wisler (5-4, 5.43)

Sunday – Eovaldi (13-2, 4.00) vs. Teheran (9-6, 4.29)

Probables for Red Sox/Mets

Friday – Owens (2-1, 4.50) vs. Harvey (11-7, 2.57)

Saturday – Rodriguez (7-5, 4.39) vs. deGrom (12-6, 2.29)

Sunday – Kelly (7-6, 5.18) vs. Syndergaard (8-6, 3.19)

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