New York Yankees at New York Mets (+100, 7)
The final game of interleague play this season takes place Sunday night and features two heated rivals and two excellent pitchers.
Mets starter R.A. Dickey has been reborn thanks to the knuckleball. Dickey was a first-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 1996, but took five years to reach the major leagues in 2001. He was a mediocre starter at best with a mid-80's fastball and an average curveball. However, Dickey did have a forkball pitch which he called "The Thing" which was basically a hard knuckleball.
At the beginning of the 2006 season, the Rangers gave him a chance to try his knuckleball, but after giving up six home runs in his first and only start, it looked like Dickey's career was over. He bounced around the minor leagues for the next two years and then pitched with the Mariners and Twins before landing in New York in 2010.
Dickey is now 37 years old and is having his best season ever. He started with a 2.84 ERA in 2009 with the Mets and then regressed a bit with a 3.28 ERA last season.
However, the right-hander has been amazing this season with a 2.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 14 starts with a 103/21 strikeout/walk ratio. Dickey is already just one strikeout shy (in 14 starts) of the 104 total strikeouts he had in the entire 2010 season (26 starts).
Dickey's won/loss record has made the biggest improvement, going 11-1 this season compared to just 19-22 in all decisions during his first two years with the Mets.SLOW STARTER
Unlike Dickey, C.C. Sabathia has been a model of consistency since he debuted in 2001. Sabathia has shown no signs of slowing down and actually set a career high with 230 strikeouts last season and already has an excellent 102/27 strikeout/walk ratio this year.
He does have his weakest earned run average (3.55 ERA) since the 2008 season (3.83 ERA), but mainly due to a slow start in April when he allowed nine runs in just 12 innings during his first two appearances. In fact, the left-hander allowed at least four runs or more in three of his first four starts in April, but has since allowed three runs or less in eight of his past 10 outings.HITTERS TO WATCH
David Wright 2-9 vs. Sabathia
Ike Davis 3-6 vs. Sabathia
Curtis Granderson 3-15 vs. Dickey
Derek Jeter 2-10 vs. Dickey
Alex Rodriguez 6-13 vs. DickeyTEAM TRENDS
Mets are 23-9 SU in Dickeys last 32 starts (8-0 L8 home starts)
Mets are 37-14 OVER vs. left-handed starter
Yankees are 39-18 SU on Sunday
Yankees are 54-21 SU in Sabathia's last 75 starts