Mets seek 12th consecutive victory in Subway Series opener
By Spencer Fordin
The weekend brings several interesting divisional series and even one natural Interleague rivalry, and it comes just as the division races are starting to take shape. The streaking Mets have roared out to a 4 1/2-game edge in the National League East, but a few of the other divisions are tight at the top.
All five teams in the American League East have at least seven wins, and only one team in the Majors (Milwaukee) has won fewer than five games. The NL Central and West both have four teams at .500 or better, and the two best teams in the AL (Kansas City and Detroit) both reside in the Central.
Here's a few matchups and games to look forward to on Friday:
• Subway Series: NYM @ NYY, 7:05 p.m. ET
The streaking Mets have won 11 games in a row, but now they have to square off against the Yankees in the battle for New York. Jacob deGrom will bring an 18 1/3-inning scoreless streak into the series opener, and he'll be matched up against Michael Pineda, who has never started against the Mets.
The Mets are coming off the first 10-0 homestand in franchise history, and they went 2-2 against the Yankees in Interleague Play last season. The Yankees, meanwhile, are 8-3 in their last 11 games, and they're coming back home after consecutive road series victories over Tampa Bay and Detroit.
• Revenge or re-run?: BOS @ BAL, 7:05 p.m. ET
Rick Porcello faced the Orioles just five days ago in Boston. And it didn't end well. Porcello was lashed for 12 hits and eight earned runs on Sunday, and now he gets a chance for instant redemption. The Orioles and Red Sox split four games when they met in Fenway Park.
Miguel Gonzalez faced Porcello on Sunday, and he'll get the ball again in the rematch. Gonzalez has won two of his first three starts for Baltimore, but he's only been able to complete six innings once. The right-hander has 20 strikeouts in his first three starts, but he's also walked 10 batters.
Center fielder Adam Jones leads the Orioles with five home runs, and closer Zach Britton has four saves in four chances. Free-agent acquisition Hanley Ramirez has five homers for the Red Sox, and Boston has gotten out to a first-place start despite a cold streak from David Ortiz.
• The new-look Cubs: CHC @ CIN, 7:10 p.m. ET
Kris Bryant and company are one of the most interesting stories in the game, and they're coming off a four-game series split against the Pirates. Chicago will arrive at Great American Ball Park with a half-game edge over the Reds, and Jon Lester will be making his first start in Cincinnati.
Bryant, the Cubs' rookie sensation third baseman, is batting .360 with a .515 on-base percentage through his first seven games in the Major Leagues. Chicago also recently promoted Addison Russell, their highly touted shortstop prospect, and he's been breaking in at second base.
Mike Leake will get the ball for the Reds, who took three of four from the Brewers following a road sweep at the hands of the Cardinals. These two teams met last week, and the Cubs took two of three at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto is batting .361 through his first 16 games.
• Clash of the lefties: HOU @ OAK, 10:05 p.m. ET
Dallas Keuchel has been unbeatable for the Astros, who have won each of the southpaw's last eight starts. But he'll be up against a fellow lefty who has been basically unhittable. Scott Kazmir has given up just 10 hits in his first 20 1/3 innings for the A's this season, and he's rung up 23 strikeouts.
Keuchel, not to be outdone, has spun 10 consecutive quality starts going all the way back to Aug. 15 of last season. That's the longest streak in the Majors, and he has a 2.04 ERA over that streak. Keuchel has a 0.90 ERA in three starts this season, and he's given up 11 hits in 20 innings.
The Astros and A's are fighting for control of the AL West in the early going, and Houston has gone 4-2 in its first six road games. Oakland, by contrast, is just 3-4 at home so far.
• West Coast collision: LAD @ SD, 10:10 p.m. ET
The Dodgers and Padres are right in the thick of the race for first place in the NL West, and they'll both be sending a solid pitcher to the mound in the series opener. Zack Greinke will take the ball for the Dodgers, and he'll be matched up against Andrew Cashner for the Padres.
Greinke has gone 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his first three outings this season, and that counts a no-decision in his season debut against San Diego. Cashner gave up five earned runs against Los Angeles on April 8, and he's gone 12 innings without allowing an earned run in his last two starts.
Matt Kemp will get to host his former team, and he's still looking to kick-start his season. Kemp is batting .333, but he only has one home run so far.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.