The scalding-hot Mets come to Yankee Stadium for the final three games of the 2010 Subway Series, needing but one win to secure at least a season series tie.
A month ago I would've expected this to have been a cakewalk, but as mentioned on Monday, the Mets are crazy hot, having gone 16-5 over their last 21 games, while the Yanks are 15-7 during the same time period. Both teams are playing well, and it should be a pretty evenly matched set. The pitching matchups are identical to what they were the last time the two teams squared off, so let's take a quick look:
In tonight's game, Javier Vazquez (5.43 ERA; 5.33 FIP; 4.42 xFIP) once again faces Hisanori Takahashi (3.48 ERA; 3.27 FIP; 4.07 xFIP). Both starters threw very well in their previous faceoff, with Vazquez slightly edging Takahashi in the effectiveness department. Still, the Yankees have their issues with junkballers, and it would not surprise me to see Takahashi -- who is currently outpitching his ERA -- hold 'em down. I'm no longer making predictions for Vazquez, quite simply because I just have no idea what to expect besides the fact that he's a very good bet to give up a home run, having yielded at least one long ball in eight of his 11 starts. If he can keep the suddenly resurgent Met offense scoreless for six innings again I'll do cartwheels.
Phil Hughes (3.11 ERA; 2.90 FIP; 3.70 xFIP) gets another crack at Mike Pelfrey (2.39 ERA; 3.28 FIP; 4.02 xFIP), who bested his fellow young stud last go-round. Both pitchers are having excellent seasons, although Hughes has had a bit of a rough go of it since they last met, while Pelfrey continues to be the Mets' most effective starter. In fact, Pelfrey has issued a quality start in all six of his previous outings, and that number would be eight straight were it not for a 5 2/3, four-run performance against the Nationals on May 12. Pelfrey's only surrendered more than three runs twice in 14 starts. That's simply excellent.
Hughes isn't far behind, having yielded more than three runs only three times in his 12 starts, and also boasts the third-best FIP in the American League. This may actually be the marquee match-up of the weekend.
And in the finale the two teams' aces duke it out, as CC Sabathia (4.00 ERA; 4.24 FIP; 3.94 xFIP) tries to exact some revenge against Johan Santana (3.13 ERA; 3.81 FIP; 4.70 xFIP), who dominated the Yankees last time out. Sabathia's been inconsistent, though he did of course pick up that big victory against Roy Halladay on Tuesday. ERA-wise Santana's actually basically pitching to his career number (3.12), but he's underperforming his career FIP (3.40) by a little and his xFIP (3.46) by a lot. Hopefully this time we end up getting the pitchers' duel we thought we were in store for last time -- especially since I'll be at this one -- or the Yankees decide to bust out the whupping club on Johan for my dad in honor of Father's Day.
Here are the two teams' offense and pitching numbers:
The Yankees' season-long ironclad grip on top wOBA in the American League is gone, thanks to a mediocre showing against the Phillies, while Boston surged to the top spot by beating the tar out of the Diamondbacks.
The Bombers' pitching numbers are still very good across the board despite giving up 16 runs during the past three games. The Mets still walk too many batters, but have seen decent improvements in both team ERA and FIP since the teams last squared off.
As a side note, the Yankees have zero home runs against the Mets this year; expect that to change this weekend.
The pitching matchups favor the Mets on paper, and with the way they've righted the ship over in Queens, I think the Amazin's probably take two of three this weekend -- unless Hughes and Sabathia can recover some of their early-season dominance.