Mets And Yankees March Towards Playoffs. Where Do They Stand?

Mets' Jacob deGrom./Associated Press

Owen Russell


   New York is a baseball city. Dating back to the early days of the sport, New York is steeped in Baseball history. With Babe Ruth breaking home run records, or Jackie Robinson breaking the sport’s color barrier, baseball has thrived in the Big Apple. Even after the Giants and Dodgers’ exodus in the mid 1950s, New York baseball continued to grow on the backs of the Yankees and Mets. Now for the first time since 2015, both New York baseball teams will play postseason ball.

   That was a heartbreaking year for New York baseball fans, regardless of affiliation. The Bronx Bombers suffered a sweep in the AL Wild Card to the burgeoning Houston Astros. In Queens, the Mets came so close to their first World Series trophy since 1986 they could damn near taste it. However, highlighted by a late collapse from former ace Matt Harvey, the Mets came up just short to the improbable Kansas City Royals. Seven years later, the two New York titans both hope to avoid a repeat of 2015. 

   The Yankees head into October as perhaps the most perplexing story in baseball. Die-hard and casual fans alike are following Aaron Judge on his quest to break the American League home run record that was originally set by Yankee legend Roger Maris in 1961. As of writing this, Judge sits one home run shy of tying Maris with 60 home runs. However, Judge is not just a boom or bust hitter. The Yankees’ outfielder currently leads the American League in Batting Average, RBIs, as well as Home Runs. If Judge were to close out the year still in the lead, he would be only the second player since 1967 to do so. 

   But while Judge swats his way into the history books with each at-bat, the Yankees continue to cause fans chest pain and headaches. The team’s second half of the season has given many fans whiplash, as the team yo-yos between dominance and the dumpster. Over the past 10 games, New York has gone 8-2, but you couldn’t tell from the turmoil surrounding baseball’s most storied franchise. The Yankees’ pitching staff has cooled down at the worst possible time. Gerrit Cole has given up the second most home runs in baseball. Midseason addition, Frankie Montas, went from uninspiring to unavailable with a right shoulder injury. And now, according to the New York Post, the team is considering parting ways with the once spectacular closer, Arolids Chapman. It’ll take more than home runs for the Yankees to survive October, so the pitching needs to step up.

   Now the Mets may be a different story. Queens’ favorite team came into the season with lofty expectations after acquiring multiple key players during free agency, none more noteworthy than three time CY Young award winner Max Scherzer. Prodigal owner Steve Cohen has built the Mets roster by spending the second most money in baseball, and so far it seems to be working.    The Mets boast the third best record in baseball, and march into October as a viable contender for the first time in nearly a decade. 

   If there is anything standing in the way of the New York Mets it may be the stiff competition heading their way come playoff time. As of now, the Mets would earn a first round bye, and play either the Atlanta Braves or the San Diego Padres in the NLDS. But nothing is guaranteed. The Mets have yet to clinch the NL East, as they cling on to a 1.5 game lead over the Braves. Atlanta has proven to be a thorn in the Mets’ side this season. The Mets have beaten the defending World Series champions nine times and lost seven. In their last series against each other, the Mets won only once and lost three times. Now with the season winding down, the Braves just won’t go away. The two teams have one final three game series left starting Sept. 30. Those three games just might decide which team earns the first round bye, and which team must survive the Wild Card.

  The Mets’ pitching staff has been solid this season, earning the third best ERA in baseball, but the team still needs to be careful. Their two aces, Scherzer and Jacob Degrom, have missed significant time this season. If either of those two were to go down in the playoffs, it could prove the lowly Mets flew too close to the sun yet again.

   If the planets align, and the baseball gods cave to the prayers of New Yorkers past or present, then New York City may be headed to a Mets-Yankees World Series. Last time that happened, Derek Jeter led the Yankees to their third straight World Series victory. Both teams have shown this season that they can dominate lesser competition, be it through the long ball, or the fastball. Neither team is guaranteed a spot in the Fall Classic, but it could be an exciting postseason for either team.