The all-star break has passed. The trade deadline frenzy is over. It’s time for the final six weeks of baseball before the October tournament for the world title. The New York Mets and New York Yankees are both making a push for the playoffs and its time to look at what it will take for them to get there, and potentially pull off a deep run.
New York Mets
The Mets had a rough first half to the season, with many blown saves and the lack of production from their coveted free agents being among the many reasons the team couldn’t stay on its feet. It came to a head after a seven-game losing streak at the end of June and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen throwing a chair with every last drop of frustration that has cumulated over the first three and a half months of the season. But somehow, someway, the Mets are actually turning things around.
Part of the reason why is first baseman Pete Alonso, a rookie who has shown up all year long as the team’s star hitter. With 34 home runs as of Aug. 5, he is only eight strong swings away from breaking the franchise’s home run record, set by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltrán. There’s also the outfielders, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, who have helped keep this lineup afloat where at times it fell flat.
Of course, the Mets starting pitchers continue to be the strongest part of the club. Jacob deGrom is once again having a strong year with a 2.78 ERA through 22 starts. Noah Syndergaard and Zach Wheeler were on the trade block, but with the team changing directions and looking to win now, it’ll be important to have these two around. Speaking of trading, the Mets got RHP Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays at the deadline and are hoping that he bolsters the lineup further, despite some hiccups out of the gate.
In order to make a playoff run, the Mets need improvement from its bullpen, especially from Edwin Diaz. The closer has been a resounding disappointment and has blown too many saves to date. If he can turns things around, along with the rest of the relief pitchers, the Mets could pull off what seemed impossible just a month ago.
New York Yankees
Those rocky first few weeks of the season feels like ages ago as the Yankees are currently in excellent position to win the AL East title this year. After reaching 70 wins in a little more than three weeks after the all-star break, the Yankees juggernaut are on a roll and will likely need a catastrophic rash of injuries for the team to slow its momentum.
Infielder DJ LeMahieu is one of the steals of the offseason. After signing a two-year deal with the team in January, LeMahieu has been the most consistent hitter in the club, leading the team in hits, and currently sits near the top of the batting average ranks in the American League. Infielder Gleyber Torres and catcher Gary Sanchez have also gotten all-star nods for their performances, but this entire roster is deep with players that can hit well. There’s the usual names like Didi Gregorius, now that he’s back from injury, and Aaron Judge. But even the likes of third baseman Gio Urshela and outfielder Mike Tauchman are having career years in most, if not all, categories.
In terms of the pitching, having Luis Severino out of the rotation has hurt. However, Masahiro Tanaka has been the strongest of the pitchers, earning himself his second all-star bid in his career. Domingo German has also done ridiculously well, with 14 wins and the best ERA on the team amongst the starters, as of Aug. 5. The rest of the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired, with J.A. Happ notably having a tough season. Good news is that Arodis Chapman has been a great closer for the team with 29 total saves.
The biggest issue for this team, by far, is in the injuries. Everyone in the starting lineup on opening day has been on the injured list at least once and players are continuing to get hurt the closer we get to the end of the season. Health will be an important factor if the Yankees want to remain in title contention.