Oh, what could have been this week?
Mets. Yankees. Subway Series. Late July right before the trade deadline. This was supposed to be a benchmark meeting of the two New York clubs as they primed for the final two months of the regular season and an ultimate playoff push.
Instead, the Yankees are in last place in the American League East yet still in an exponentially better place in the standings than the Mets, whose playoff hopes are all but done considering they’re 18.5 games out of the division and 7.5 out of the Wild Card. With two games coming in the Bronx on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Yankees have an opportunity to provide the hammer blow to the Mets’ remarkably disappointing season.
These games mean a whole lot more for the Yankees than it does for the Mets. The Yanks are 8.5 games back of the surprise division-leading Baltimore Orioles but just two back in the Wild Card, tied with the rival Boston Red Sox as they look up at another AL East side, the Toronto Blue Jays who possess the final playoff berth in the American League.
A sweep of the lowly Kansas City Royals helped to ease some tensions created by three straight losses against the Los Angeles Angels, which proceeded series losses to the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies.
Even more promising was slugger Aaron Judge finally facing live pitching on Sunday for the first time since his toe injury on June 3.
“When you take into consideration how long he hasn’t seen live pitching in an environment like that, I thought he looked pretty good,” Jonathan Loaisiga, who threw the live BP session, said of Judge.
Without their superstar outfielder, the Yankees are 18-22. They’ll need to stay afloat for a bit longer, meaning they have to fatten up against struggling teams.
The Mets are just that.
After going 9-4 around the All-Star break, the Mets have lost three of their last four, including two of three to the Red Sox to all but cement their status as trade-deadline sellers.
This will be one of the last series in which their current team is all together as veterans on expiring contracts such as Mark Canha or Tommy Pham are expected to be moved. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander could also be dealt. A poor effort against the Yankees will only provide further insult to injury for one of Major League Baseball’s most disappointing teams.
The Mets have had little success as of late in the Bronx, dropping six of the last seven games at Yankee Stadium.