Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Masahiro Tanaka
My, how the tide has shifted in New York — depending on what side of the baseball fence you reside on.
Mets fans started chirping early in the season after their boys got off to an MLB-best 11-1 start. New York hasn’t been able to maintain that torrid pace, however, as the Mets have gone just 16-31 since. That includes their current six-game losing streak, all of which came at home. In those six losses, they scored a total of only seven runs, failing to score more than one run in five and getting shut out in two. In fact, the Mets have been shut out five times since the start of May. The Mets are back!
Meanwhile, those in the Bronx didn’t get to enjoy the same hot start, as the Yankees were 11-11 through their first 22 games. However, since that point, New York has the best record in baseball at a stellar 29-7. The Bombers now have the second-best record in all of baseball and are on pace to win 112 games. However, if the season ended today, they’d play in the Wild Card game. Let’s go a step further. If the season ended today, the Yanks would have to face Justin Verlander in a one-game Wild Card just to get to the ALDS. Brutal. Tough livin’ in the American League East.
Let’s take a closer look at the spectacular starting pitching matchup on Friday night. Will the Mets’ bullpen ruin another deGrom gem? Probably.
New York Yankees (+109) at New York Mets (-118) | O/U: 8
Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA)
7:10 p.m. ET
Masahiro Tanaka: The Yankees’ right-hander has not had a stellar start to the season, as he has been wildly inconsistent on a start-to-start basis. The long ball has really hurt him so far in 2018, as he has allowed a shockingly high 2.00 HR/9 — and 21.4% of his fly balls have left the park. Those metrics rank fourth and third worst, respectively, among all qualified pitchers. The Mets haven’t hit many homers this year (25th in the league), but they do hit a lot of fly balls. Through Thursday, they ranked ninth in FB%.
Tanaka did throw a complete game shutout at Citi Field back in 2014. However, in his two starts there since, he hasn’t fared as well, allowing eight earned runs in 12.1 innings (both losses).
Those mark the only times Masahiro has faced the Metropolitans, as he has never pitched against them in the Bronx. However, I wouldn’t put too much credence into those splits, as current (and healthy) Mets position players are a combined 7-38 for a paltry .184 average.
And even if the Mets see the return of Yoenis Céspedes, who may rejoin the Mets’ lineup as soon as Friday, he has gone only 3-13 lifetime vs. Tanaka. — Stuckey