NY Mets at Boston
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox look to move closer to clinching the American League East title for the third straight season when they host the improving New York Mets for the opener of a three-game interleague set Friday night. Boston has won four in a row after completing a three-game sweep of Toronto on Thursday with a 3-1 triumph, reducing its magic number to clinch the division crown to six.
J.D. Martinez launched his 41st homer in Thursday’s win to move within one of the franchise record for a player in his first year with the Red Sox – held by Dick Stuart (42, 1963) – while Xander Bogaerts had two hits to improve to 10-for-19 in his last five outings. Boston will send Hector Velazquez to the mound in the series opener, while the Mets will counter with hard-throwing Noah Syndergaard, who faces the Red Sox for the second time in his career. New York is 9-3 this month after winning three in a row, including a doubleheader sweep of Miami on Thursday, and 9-1-2 in its past 12 series. Michael Conforto belted a solo homer in the first game Thursday and knocked in three runs in the second as he extended his hitting streak to six contests – going 10-for-26 with four blasts and 10 RBIs in that span.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, SNY (New York), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Noah Syndergaard (11-3, 3.44 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Hector Velazquez (7-2, 3.29)
Syndergaard extended his unbeaten streak to four starts Saturday despite allowing four runs on 12 hits and five walks across 6 2/3 innings in a win over Philadelphia. The 26-year-old Texan has thrown at least 100 pitches in six straight outings, including 114 in his first career complete game Sept. 2 at San Francisco. Syndergaard faced the Red Sox once in his career, yielding four runs over 6 2/3 innings back in 2015.
Velazquez makes his eighth start of the season and first since Sept. 5 when he limited Atlanta to two runs on five hits and three walks over four innings in a no-decision. The 29-year-old Mexican has not won since he improved to 7-0 on July 30 and registered a 5.48 ERA in 10 appearances since. Velazquez faces the Mets for the first time in his career and is 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 19 appearances (three starts) at home in 2018.
1. New York INF Jose Reyes owns 521 RBIs with the team, tied with Cleon Jones for eighth in franchise history.
2. Boston INF Eduardo Nunez, who boasts a four-game hitting streak (5-for-12), left Thursday’s game with a sore right knee.
3. Mets 2B Jeff McNeil has hit safely in 23 of his last 25 starts and is 13-for-32 in his past eight games overall.