By JOE CERAULO
It’s been a tale of two boroughs for New York baseball this season. In Queens, the expectations were high following two straight postseason appearances by the Mets. In the Bronx, fans were intrigued to see how a rebuilding year would turn out, convinced their team was a year or two away from contention. Neither fan base has gotten what they expected.
Entering the All-Star break at 45-41, the New York Yankees have exceeded expectations. On June 12, the ‘Baby Bombers’ were 38-23 and had the second-best record in baseball. Since then they are just 7-18, but still hold the first wild card spot in the AL playoff picture. What needs to change for the Yankees is obvious: PITCHING.
The Yankees’ team ERA of 4.02 ranks 4th in the AL, but since things went downhill on June 13, they’ve given up 5.52 runs per game. The good news is they are still hitting. Rookie sensation Aaron Judge put his power on display nationally Monday night, winning the Home Run Derby in Miami. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet, but the derby has been known to cool off many hot bats in years past. With the trade deadline two weeks away, and the postseason on their minds, expect the Yankees to buy starting pitching in the near future.
In Queens, the 39-47 New York Mets have seen things go consistently downhill since they opened the year 7-3. General Manager Sandy Alderson has built this team around his top pitching prospects. Despite recent success, this year’s staff has amassed an ERA of 4.94, only better than Cincinnati in the NL.
Injuries have been a common misfortune for the Mets in recent years. Last year, nine of their ten opening day starters (they began the year in Kansas City where a DH is used), found themselves on the disabled list at some point. This year, five of nine opening day starters have been on the DL, and six of their seven highly touted starting pitchers have been sidelined periodically as well. When a team fails to remain healthy, they can’t be expected to win.
With the deadline around the corner, the Mets appear to be clear sellers this year. Lucas Duda and Asdrubal Cabrera can provide some pop for a contender. They also have two top prospects in 1B Dom Smith and SS Ahmed Rosario who would benefit greatly from those trades. With this said, keep in mind in mid-August last year the Mets were 60-62. They proceeded to win 87 games and make the playoffs. While things look grim right now in Queens, the ten-game home stand coming out of the All-Star break will show whether or not there’s any fight left in the ‘Miracle Mets.’