The first two games of the season between the Mets and Yankees were as advertised. Back and forth, exciting baseball from start to finish between two of the league’s top teams. Both games, played at Citi Field, saw the Mets coming away victorious on back-to-back nights, sweeping the Subway Series for the first time since 2014. Since this series on July 26-27 however, the Mets are 11-2 and the Yankees are 5-7, while going through their longest losing streak of the season. Though the two teams are still in the top 4 in terms of overall record, is a potential World Series matchup in jeopardy? It may still be too soon to tell, but there is certainly optimism in one clubhouse, and more question marks in the clubhouse in the Bronx at the moment.
The Mets are red hot at the moment and are coming off a five game series against the division rival Braves that saw New York take 4 out of those 5 games to increase their division lead to 7 games. Starting pitching, timely hitting, and a rock solid bullpen were the keys for the Mets, as Edwin Diaz once again proved his worth as the top closer in baseball. Diaz has struck out more than half of the hitters he's faced this season, and with the Mets starters already proving tough to hit, with Diaz looming at the back of the bullpen, any late leads for this Mets team is expected to hold up as a win. The trumpets at Citi Field have never been louder.
The Yankees have been facing a reverse trajectory since late July. After losing a 1-0 heartbreaker in Seattle, the Yankees have now lost 6 of their last 7 games as well as some key players that got them to where they are. Matt Carpenter, who was claimed off of waivers, was a sparkplug for the Yankees offense and ended up replacing the struggling Joey Gallo in the lineup midway through the season, before Gallo was eventually traded to the Dodgers. But now Carpenter is done for the season after suffering a fractured left foot. The "next man up" mentality is always present for professional teams, and that next man will have to replicate the strong numbers that Carpenter has given the Bronx Bombers. Miguel Andujar could be that guy, but it remains to be seen the type of effect he could have.
So what comes next for New York baseball? The two teams will meet in Yankee Stadium for two more games in August to finish out the regular season Subway Series, but a lot of fans are already looking forward to the “what-if” possibility of a Subway Series rematch for the World Series. Of course, this has only happened one other time in history, with the Yankees winning the 2000 World Series in 5 games, but there is a different feeling around New York baseball these days. The Yankees dynasty, while still strong, is not at the top of the peak as they were in the late 90s and early 2000s, and the Mets, with new ownership ready to spend, have been awakened and have proven to be a legit contender.
The trade deadline has come and gone and both teams addressed certain needs, while passing up on some others. The Mets addressed a need at the DH position by adding Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates and Darin Ruf from the Giants to platoon for lefty/righty matchups. They also added a platoon outfielder in Tyler Naquin from the Reds, and added a bullpen arm in Mychel Givens from the Cubs. But the Yankees made a bigger splash by landing coveted left fielder Andrew Benintendi from the Royals in exchange for three pitching prospects. Benintendi coming to the Bronx ended up being a huge move, especially now without Carpenter. Benintendi's .306 batting average is good for 7th in the league and should provide a big spark to an already dynamic Yankee lineup, however, since joining the Yankees, he has 7 hits in 39 at bats for a .179 average.
With the Mets getting contributions from their new additions, as well as the all star seasons that Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, and Francisco Lindor are having, while also getting the best pitcher in baseball back in Jacob deGrom, there is a sense of optimism in Queens that hasn't been felt since their World Series run in 2015. As for the Yankees, Gerrit Cole has been solid on the hill and Aaron Judge is continuing his MVP caliber season, but they will need more consistency out of the bullpen as well as the rest of the lineup to assure a long run in the playoffs. They will also get another slugger back in the lineup at some point, as Giancarlo Stanton continues to work his way back from an achilles injury. There are still plenty of games to be played to right the ship, and in all likelihood, they will, it's just a matter of how quickly.
With both New York teams are considered top 5 in the league, and playoff baseball in New York all but imminent for both clubs, the idea of a Subway Series rematch is not farfetched, and will bring an electricity to the New York sports world and the entire city that has not been felt in over 20 years. The likelihood of this happening remains to be seen, as anything can happen in the postseason, especially with formidable opponents in each league. The National League with the Braves, Dodgers, and newly high-powered Padres will bring big challenges to Queens, while the always dangerous Astros and AL East foes, Toronto Blue Jays will present the biggest challenges to the Yankees. But if they are both able to come out of their respective leagues, a Mets vs Yankees World Series would be tremendous to not only the state of New York, but for all of baseball.