The Yankees reportedly tried multiple times in July to trade for Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He remained in Queens and, instead of pitching for the Yankees, he'll be pitching against them Monday night in the Bronx.
The Mets were off last Thursday. Instead of giving deGrom an extra day of rest, Mets manager Mickey Callaway adjusted his rotation and will throw him on normal rest.
"The one thing that helped was we got a little bit of a lead his last game, where we were able to get him out probably an inning earlier than we had been going," Callaway explained last week. "So, pitching on the fifth day this time seemed to make some sense."
As a result, Jason Vargas will get the extra rest and start Tuesday night in Baltimore.
"When you are playing the Yankees, it's important," Callaway added. "But, also I think it's more about keeping deGrom on regular rest as many times as possible. We have some options coming up that we can go to a six-man rotation at some point, and we'll have to continue to weigh how many times we want him to be on normal rest, but every chance we've got if he's in a really good spot we're going to continue to do that."
In other words, in a year when deGrom is a top candidate for the National League Cy Young Award, it would be foolish to throw him out of his current, dominant rhythm. I agree with this approach. However, it also puts deGrom and his MLB-best 1.77 ERA up against the league's second-best offense at Yankee Stadium, which is a notorious hitters park.
DeGrom is likely due to have a clunker. But, even if he does, even he lets up four runs in four innings tonight, he'd still enter his next start with an ERA less than 2.00, which would likely still be best in baseball.
Thankfully, despite the potential for offense by the Yankees, deGrom allowed just two runs and four hits, while striking out eight batters over eight innings in his only start against the Yankees at Citi Field this season.
Yankees OF Aaron Judge and C Gary Sanchez are currently on the disabled list, which means Giancarlo Stanton will be deGrom's biggest obstacle. In 25 career match ups, Stanton is hitting .360 with four HR, while striking out 25 percent of the time against deGrom.
DeGrom's offense will be tasked with facing Yankees ace Luis Severino (15-5), who is in a bit of a slump since the All-Star break.
Severino entered the break with 14 wins and a 2.31 ERA. However, the Yankees are just 2-3 in his last five starts, during which he's allowed 23 runs in 27 innings, while averaging less than one strike out per inning. It's also worth noting he has allowed nine runs during his last 17 innings pitching at Yankees Stadium.
Nevertheless, if Severino were ever going to break out of his funk, it could be tonight when facing the fourth-worst offense in the league. To make matters worse for the Mets, they have averaged just 3.6 runs per start for deGrom, which is the fourth-worst support in the National League.
Tonight's game between the Mets and Yankees is a make up game from a rainout on July 22.
According to the National Weather Service, there's a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight, which also holds the potential for heavy rainfall.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!