The Yankees and Mets begin their post All-Star Game schedule in distinctly different mindsets. The Yankees, who had an unexpected stellar start to this season, have encountered challenging times over the past month.
June 12 they were 38-23, riding a six-game winning streak and in first place in the American League East. Since then, the Yankees have only won seven games, are 45-41 and three and one-half games behind the 50-39 division-leading Boston Red Sox when the two teams open a four-game series tomorrow night at Fenway Park. Still, the Yankees are a firm playoff contender. They are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for one of the two wild card berths.
“We’ve got to find a way to get ourselves back to October, so we can try to make some noise,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman Saturday in an interview on the YES Network. “If we can get into October and we find our stride at the right time, you saw what we did in April and May…”
Injuries to starters and key backups, a lack of offensive production from a revolving door of players at first base, an inconsistent bullpen and a poor overall showing by nominal ace MasahiroTanaka, who in 18 starts is 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA, is why the Yankees have fallen so dramatically and why they won’t be playing beyond their last regular season game on October 1 if they don’t overcome the aforementioned issues.
The Mets’ chances of making the playoffs are little to none. Expected to be a World Series favorite entering the 2017 season, they stumbled out of the gate and have continued to plummet. At the end of April, the Mets were 10-14. When they start a 10-game home stand tomorrow night at Citi Field, their mark of 39-47 puts them fourth in the National League East, 12 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals and eighth in the wild card standings.
A starting rotation that had exceeding promise two years ago has been a shell of its 2015 self this season, resulting from Matt Harvey (stress injury to the scapula bone in his throwing shoulder) and Noah Syndergaard (lat strain) being on the disabled list since June 14 and April 30, respectively. Furthermore, lefty Steven Matz didn’t make his first start of this season until June 10 because he was recovering from an elbow injury.
Consequently, a large burden was placed on Jacob deGrom, who has held up admirably in pitching 111 innings while going 9-3 with a 3.65 ERA. Looking toward the future, it would be prudent for Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to explore trading appealing assets such as 30-year-old outfielder Jay Bruce (23 home runs) to a playoff contender in need of a left handed power hitter for rising young talent.