Mets starter Justin Verlander Credit: Wikipedia photo

The Mets have found new life.

On May 16, they were 20-23 after losing 8-5 to the Tampa Rays at Citi Field in Game 1 of a three-game series. One week later, the Mets began a three-game set on Tuesday versus the Chicago Cubs on the road, in second place in the National League East division with a record of 25-23 riding a five-game winning streak.

The Mets took two out of three games versus the Rays, then swept three against the Cleveland Guardians during their May 16–21 seven-game home stand. (Last Saturday’s game was postponed due to heavy rain.) Over that stretch, Mets’ All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso hit a homerun in each of four straight games, including a walk-off three-run homer on Wednesday night against Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks in the 10th inning in a 8-7 victory.

On Friday, Alonso blasted a game-tying grand slam off Guardians reliever James Karinchak in the seventh inning to help the Mets earn another 10th-inning win by 10-9. It was the Mets’ first series victory since taking three from the Oakland As on the road April 14–16. The home stand also saw breakout performances from rookie catcher Francisco Alvarez, who hit a game-tying homer against Rays closer Jason Adam with two strikes in the count in the bottom of the ninth inning in last Wednesday’s win and and a game-evening single off Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase in the ninth on Friday.

Fellow rookie infielder Mark Vientos tied Wednesday’s game at 2-2 in the 7th inning with a two-run home run off Rays reliever Ryan Thomson. Every Mets’ win during their five-game streak was by one run.

One of the more welcoming sights for the team over that period was the strong pitching performance from their starters, beginning with Kodai Senga on May 17 (6 IP, 3H, 1ER, 12Ks), Max Scherzer (6 IP, 3H, and 5Ks), and Justin Verlander (8 IP, 3 hits, and 5Ks) going into the Mets’ doubleheader last Sunday. It could be a turning point for the team, coming at the right time as they chase the division-leading Atlanta Braves—the Mets trailed the Braves by 4.5 games before facing the Cubs on Tuesday.

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After the Cubs, the Mets will face the Colorado Rockies for three games tomorrow through Sunday, then host the Philadelphia Phillies in Queens next Tuesday through Thursday.

The Yankees are also ascending. They went 6-1 in their roadtrip from May 15 through this past Sunday and 3-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays, then capturing three over the Cincinnati Reds. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has led their resurgence, hitting seven home runs in seven games dating back to May 13 against Tampa Bay. His power surge was tinged with some controversy when he took a few glances in the direction of his bench before hitting his second homer of the game in the eighth inning in the May 15 game against Toronto. The Blue Jays broadcast team accused Judge of cheating, alleging he was receiving pitch information from the Yankees bench. Judge denied he was getting intel.

“I’m kind of like, ‘Who’s still talking here?…Let’s get back to playing ball,” he said after the game when asked about the incident. The Yankees bench was still chirping at home plate umpire Clint Vondrak after he threw out manager Aaron Boone during Judge’s at-bat for calling what he thought was a questionable strike against the slugger.

The Yankees have gone from 15-15 to open this month to 29-20 when they began a three-game series on Tuesday versus the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx. They had the fourth-most wins in the American League, yet were still in third place (the Orioles were in second at 31-16), six games behind the 35-14 Rays.  

The Yankees will face the San Diego Padres at home for a three-game series this weekend.

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