What to look for: Yankees vs. Mets, 7:10 PM
The Mets open a three-game series against the Yankees at 7:10 pm on Friday night at Citi Field.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:
Curtis Granderson RF
Yoenis Cespedes CF
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda 1B
Travis d’Arnaud C
Michael Conforto LF
Wilmer Flores SS
Steven Matz LHP
Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:
Steven Matz (3-0, 1.88 ERA) will start for the Mets.
Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.40 ERA) will start for the Yankees.
Here’s what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight:
The Mets are in a position now where there’s a limited schedule and a big lead in the division. The more they win, the fewer the concerns are over the Nationals roaring back into this race.
Getting off on the right foot in this series is essential for the Mets to accomplish that goal. There is no reason for the club to encounter a three-game losing streak and stymie the tremendous momentum they’ve had for the last six weeks. As weird as these Subway Series games sometimes get, the Mets should have the upper hand matchup-wise tonight.
Meet the Matz.
Matz will be tasked with not only preventing a losing streak, but shaking off the rust he has shown since returning from the disabled list.
The good news is, the more he pitches, the more likely that is to occur.
Efficiency and command have been the hurdles for Matz since returning, as he’s struggled to really get into any sort of rhythm in his outings. He has also been telegraphing a lot of his off-speed pitches, slowing his arm down in the process which is a huge tell.
But he’s at home in front of his own hometown fans, and he has developed a little brand around that in the infancy of his Mets career. Hopefully he can feed off of the crowd and the significance tonight.
The Mets scored seven runs in their three-game series against the Marlins earlier this week. That’s not going to cut it. They need Yoenis Cespedes to break out of his mini-slide and for the rest of the Mets to feed off of that, much like they have since the day he arrived on August 1.
It’s not easy with Tanaka on the mound throwing the kitchen sink of off-speed pitches he has. But that doesn’t mean they can’t score just enough runs against him, either.