It’s the traditional mid-season, Major League Baseball’s All-Star break, the game and on-field events being held at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, hosted by the Colorado Rockies. The city of Atlanta and the Braves were the original site of the 2021 Mid-Summer Classic, but on April 2, MLB moved the game to Colorado in protest over Georgia’s passage of a restrictive voting law.
Included on this past week’s All-Star schedule was the Future Stars game played on Sunday, the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday. The MLB Draft was also held from Sunday through Tuesday, but what’s more important to New York baseball fans is the state of the Mets and the Yankees. Where are they? What’s their prognosis? Is the post season and a championship a strong possibility for either team?
The Mets, under the first-year majority ownership of billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, ended the first half of the season on Sunday 47-40 and on top of the National League East by 3.5 games over the second place Philadelphia Phillies. They have won six of their last 10 games.
The Mets, who finished the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season 26-34, are 28-14 at their home stadium, Citi Field, but just 19-26 on the road. They have been led by a pitching staff anchored by starter Jacob deGrom that is fourth in the National League in ERA at 3.43. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers (3.14), San Francisco Giants (3.26) and San Diego Padres (3.41) have better numbers.
The 33-year-old, two-time Cy Young Award winner (2018, 2019) deGrom, is on his way to a third. In 15 starts, he is 7-2 with a MLB best 1.08 ERA and second in strikeouts with 146, one behind the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole. The Mets’ hitting hasn’t matched their pitching. They rank near the bottom of baseball, tied for 24th out of all 30 teams with a .231 batting average.
Four-time All-Star Shortstop Francisco Lindor, whom the Mets received in a trade with the Cleveland Indians in January and signed to a 10-year, $341 million deal at the end of March, is batting only .227, well below his career average of .280. In his last full season of 2019, Lindor posted numbers of .284 with 32 homers and 74 RBIs.
The Yankees, who languished in last place with the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the season, moved up to the middle of the American League East division by mid-May, but went into the All-Star break in a disappointing fourth place. With a record of 46-43 record, and 5-5 in their last 10 games, they have underachieved and are eight games behind the 55-36 Boston Red Sox, who are first in the division.
The Yankees and Red Sox begin a four-game series tonight in the Bronx and will play another four games scheduled for July 22-25 in Boston. Unlike the Mets, the Yankees’ records home and away are nearly identical. They are 23-22 at Yankee Stadium and 23-21 on the road. After blowing a five-run lead against the Houston Astros on Sunday, losing 8-7 after the Astros scored six runs in the ninth-inning, the Yankees are 10-19 in the final game of the series. They did take two out of three from the Astros in Houston.
Both Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager, and manager Aaron Boone have been pressured by the fan base for the team to play much better.
“It’s absolutely aggravating, maddening,” said Hal Steinbrenner, managing partner of the New York Yankees subpar season. “It has been tough to watch, and the players know that. They’re better than this. This is not the product that we expect. That is not the type of play that they expect of themselves.”