MIAMI -- After a slight shift in the rotation, tonight's 7:05 ET contest against the Yankees is now far more significant than just a makeup game for the Mets. Jacob deGrom will take the ball in the Bronx, toeing the rubber opposite right-hander Luis Severino -- a must-see marquee pitching
MIAMI -- After a slight shift in the rotation, tonight's 7:05 ET contest against the Yankees is now far more significant than just a makeup game for the Mets. Jacob deGrom will take the ball in the Bronx, toeing the rubber opposite right-hander Luis Severino -- a must-see marquee pitching matchup in the 2018 Subway Series finale.
"Obviously we want to win every game, but when you're playing the Yankees, it's important to everybody," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said on Sunday, allowing a smile to sneak across his face hours before New York's matchup with the Marlins.
Every deGrom start these days has huge implications, as the right-hander remains a top candidate for the National League Cy Young Award. While deGrom leads all of baseball in ERA (1.77), Severino -- who is a contender for the American League Cy Young Award -- is tied for the Major League lead in wins with 15.
With a victory Monday, the Mets can tie the season series at 3-3 with the Yankees. The Mets lost two of three to their cross-borough rivals back in early June in Flushing and split the first two games in the Bronx before a postponement due to rain on July 22.
Beyond the pitching matchup, however, Monday's game is important for keeping deGrom on the right amount of rest between outings.
"I think it's more about keeping deGrom on regular rest as many times as possible," Callaway said. "We have some options coming up, we can go to a six-man rotation at some point. We will have to continue to weigh how many times we want him to be on normal rest, but every chance we get, he's in a really good spot to continue to be available."
Pitching Monday allows deGrom to pitch exactly five days after his previous start, six innings of scoreless ball against the Reds on Wednesday. If the Mets had kept the same order they used for the last turn through the rotation, Jason Vargas would have been in line to start Monday after Noah Syndergaard on Sunday.
"The one thing that helped was he got a little bit of a lead in his last game, so we were able to get him out probably an inning earlier than we had hoped going in," Callaway said.
In his career against the Bronx Bombers, deGrom has limited damage but for the most part hasn't seen his performances translate to the win column. In five starts, the 30-year-old is 1-4 with a 3.67 ERA (14 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings). He has yet to secure a victory at Yankee Stadium, going 0-2 in his two outings there.
As for the six-man rotation, which continues to be a hot topic in the Mets' clubhouse of late, Callaway said Sunday that it's still feasible to have six starters in the rotation while giving one pitcher a precise number of days between starts. In other words, if the club expands their rotation, it will revolve around deGrom.
"Yeah, you can do it, I've been around it before," Callaway said . "Whether it's with days off and keeping that one guy every fifth day … it's a trade-off. The good part here is some of those guys are going to need extra days."
Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami.