Pitching matchups for the Subway Series at Citi Field

Masahiro Tanaka.

Masahiro Tanaka.

After winning two out of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees will now play their most important six games since the 2012 season, which is the last time that they made the playoffs. The Yankees are currently 3.5 games behind the first place Toronto Blue Jays, which makes this upcoming stretch of games against the Mets and Blue Jays so important. They have a four-game lead on the first wild card spot, but they want to win the division so that they are secured a postseason series.

This series that begins tonight at Citi Field is important for the Yankees because the Mets can only look to play spoiler at this point. They have basically locked up the NL East since they have a 83-63 record with an 8-game lead over the Washington Nationals in the division. Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Yankees tonight and in his last start the 26-year-old did not allow a run and struck out seven in seven innings pitched against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In his start last season against the Mets he pitched a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts. The Mets have a much better offense right now with the additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Juan Uribe, but if Tanaka pitches like he did in his last start he is hard to hit.

Steven Matz, who is a Long Island native, will get the start tonight for the Mets and he will be feeling the pressure of pitching in his first Subway Series game. He has had a lot of success as he has allowed two runs or less in all four of his starts, which has led to a 1.88 ERA, but he has never pitched against the Yankees.

Adding to the intrigue of this game is that Tanaka will hit in a game for the third time this season. Here are the pitching matchups for this important first game of the Subway Series.

Tonight
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.40)
vs.
LHP Steven Matz (3-0, 1.88)
7:10 p.m., YES Network

Saturday
RHP Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.25)
vs.
RHP Noah Syndergaard (8-6, 3.20)
1:05 p.m., FOX

Sunday
LHP CC Sabathia (4-9, 4.93)
vs.
RHP Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.88)
8:08 p.m., ESPN

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