(Sports Network) - An intriguing pitching matchup is on tap today in the Bronx, where Yankees youngster Phil Hughes will square off with surging Mets starter Mike Pelfrey in the continuation of a three-game interleague series.
Hughes is 4-0 with a 3.86 earned run average over his last four starts, but barely avoided the loss column his last time out in Sunday's 9-5 victory versus the Houston Astros. Hughes allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings to improve to 9-1 in 12 starts this season. His ERA, however, went from 2.71 to 3.11.
The right-hander also has been unstoppable at Yankee Stadium this season, going 5-0 in six home starts. Hughes lost to the Mets back on May 22 at Citi Field, as he was reached for four runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 setback. Hughes is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career games (1 start) in this series.
Mike Pelfrey enters Saturday's game on a roll of his own, as he is a sizzling 5-0 with a 1.65 earned run average over his last six starts. Pelfrey is coming off last Sunday's 11-4 win at Baltimore in which he allowed three runs on nine hits and three walks over six innings.
Pelfrey, who was coming off a one-hitter versus San Diego in June 8, gave up the most runs in a start since yielding four versus Washington on May 12. He is now 9-1 with a 2.39 earned run average in 14 games (13 starts) this season and has been just as good on the road. In six road appearances, including one start, Pelfrey is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
The righty countered Hughes back on May 22, when he delivered six innings of one-run ball. Pelfrey is 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.
The streaking Mets will try to get to Hughes early when they shoot for their ninth straight win in the second portion of the Subway Series. They made it eight wins in a row and seven straight on the road with Friday's 4-0 win behind solid pitching from Hisanori Takahashi. Takahashi pitched six shutout innings and struck out three batters for his sixth win of the season before Elmer Dessens, Pedro Feliciano, Raul Valdes and Francisco Rodriguez kept the Yankees scoreless the rest of the way. Rodriguez earned his 16th save.
"He's shown us that he can handle any situation," Mets catcher Rod Barajas said of Takahashi. "He's been an unbelievable asset for us to have."
Angel Pagan had two RBI and Jose Reyes ended with two hits and drove in a run for the Mets, who are still a half-game behind Atlanta for the top spot in the National League East standings.
The Yankees have lost three in a row since a four-game winning streak and wasted a strong effort from losing pitcher Javier Vazquez. The righty fell to 6-6 on the year after tossing seven innings of one-run ball and striking out four batters. Chan Ho Park gave up two innings in relief and Boone Logan was reached for a run in 1 2/3 innings.
"It's very frustrating. Obviously if you can't score runs you're not going to win," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "Javy did a fantastic job out there for seven innings, pitched his guts out. Offensively, we have to step up."
A-Rod was 0-for-4 at the plate, while Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli both ended with two hits for the Yankees, who are still tied with Tampa Bay atop the American League East Division. The Bronx Bombers have scored a total of four runs during their current skid.
The Mets won two of three meetings with the Yankees back in May, but the defending World Series champions are 43-33 all-time in this series. The Yankees, who sport a 4-3 mark on their current nine-game residency, are 9-10 versus the Mets at home since 2004.
The Yankees are 138-100 all-time in interleague play, while the Mets own a 114-107 ledger against the American League.