While Derek Jeter is slated to play his final game against the New York Mets, Chase Whitley will get to pitch in his first in the majors and try to lead the New York Yankees to a season split with their interleague rivals.
The Mets’ Jacob deGrom will also make his major league debut Thursday night and try to spoil Jeter’s Citi Field finale while helping his club bounce back from its first loss to the Yankees in nearly two years.
Jeter will have another ceremony on his farewell tour before his 93rd game against the Mets. They’re probably glad to see him go – he’s batted .370 with 15 homers in those matchups, including an MVP performance in winning the 2000 World Series in five games.
That average is his best versus any opponent he’s played at least 10 games against, and the 15 home runs are 10 more than against any NL team.
Whitley will try to help the future Hall of Famer exit the Subway Series a winner while filling in for CC Sabathia (right knee), one of three Yankees starters on the disabled list along with Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova.
Whitley is being called up by the Yankees (20-19) after going 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts and one relief appearance at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out 32 in 26 1-3 innings. The 24-year-old right-hander is 22-16 with a 2.65 ERA in 151 career minor league games.
"I’ve seen his stuff, and he’ll be able to compete," manager Joe Girardi said.
Whitley will have a tough act to follow after fellow rookie Masahiro Tanaka improved to 6-0 with his first shutout Wednesday, a 4-0 victory. Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira homered and Brian Roberts had two triples as the Yankees snapped a season-high, four-game skid.
The win also ended a six-game losing streak to the Mets (19-20), whose previous defeat in the series was June 24, 2012, at Citi Field.
The 26-year-old deGrom will try to help his club rebound from the end to a season high-tying, three-game win streak while filling for an injured Dillon Gee (strained right lat). He was 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Las Vegas.
"I was surprised when they called me," deGrom told the Mets’ website. "I didn’t know if it would come as a reliever or a starter, which one it would be. I was thinking it would be a little later, but I’m really glad it happened now."
It’s the 14th time since the start of the 1939 season that two starting pitchers will make their major league debuts in the same game. The most recent occurrence came Sept. 7, 2010, when Gee pitched opposite Washington’s Yunesky Maya.
It’s also the second straight night a Mets starter will make his major league debut. Rafael Montero pitched Wednesday.
DeGrom will likely have to contend with a red-hot Solarte, who is batting .484 with three homers and 10 RBIs during a nine-game hit streak. Solarte is 6 for 11 with two homers and six runs scored in the three games against the Mets this season.
Brett Gardner is hitting .355 in his last 16 games to help make up for the absences of Carlos Beltran (elbow) and Ichiro Suzuki (back). Gardner is batting .361 in his last eight games versus the Mets.
The Mets’ Daniel Murphy is hitting .373 (19 for 51) with 11 extra-base hits and eight RBIs while hitting safely in 11 of his last 12 games.
David Wright is hitting .375 in his last eight home games against the Yankees and .341 in his last 10 overall matchups.