For the first four months of the season, the Yankees and Mets were two of the best teams in baseball—the Yankees still hold that title at 66-31.
Tuesday comes the first collision course, and perhaps a preview of what might be possible in October if the two teams take care of business in their respective leagues. It’s just a couple of games at Citi Field before they get together at Yankee Stadium for two more in August, but it’s going to be a highly anticipated encounter nonetheless.
The Mets won the season’s series last year, taking two out of three at The Bronx on July 4th over the weekend before doing the same at Queens the weekend of September 11th. The series finale at Citi Field included some fireworks, stemming from the Mets’ belief that the Yankees might have been whistling from their bunker to the shootout. The seats were eventually cleaned, but only words were exchanged.
Here’s a look at how the teams face this week:
in the plate
get the base
While the Mets’ offensive has been in disarray lately, highlighting one of their areas of need ahead of the trade deadline, both teams are among the top MLB clubs in terms of gaining base. The Yankees are in second place in the base percentage at 0.332 while the Mets are sixth at 0.324 – although they arrive at these numbers in different ways. The Yankees supplement their great strength by leading the lead in walking, while the Mets rely on their offensive, contact-oriented approach, striking less but with less difficult contact.
This category isn’t much of a competition because the Yankees are losing most teams in the league by force. Behind Aaron Judge’s 60-time home chase (he is currently 37), his Thumpers teammates Giancarlo Stanton (24) and Anthony Rizzo (22), Glebber Torres (15) and surprising Matt Carpenter (14), the Yankees are leading the MLB with 165 Homers. . Pete Alonso (25) packed plenty of punches on his own, but along with Francisco Lindor (16) and the occasional hot streak from Eduardo Escobar (11), the Mets didn’t get much power from the rest of the squad.
On the corridors of the base
The Yankees have improved a lot in this area compared to last year, as they are facing fewer ports on bases and it has also become a constant threat of base theft even without the certified speed threat. Their 65 swipes were tied for a third place in the MLB entry on Monday, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa (14) up front. Starling Mart (12) and Lindor (10) accounted for the bulk of the Mets’ heists, while the rest of the team was responsible for only 11. The Yankees (-2.6) and Mets (-2.9) similarly in FanGraphs’ base metric (BSR) game.
In the field
Infield: Another aspect where the Yankees have made big improvements this season. Among their pitch units, they have one player in the top six for defenses saved (per Fielding book) at each position – led by third baseman Josh Donaldson (10 DRS) – plus Jose Trevino who tops all players with 15 DRS. In general, their land accumulated 27 DRS, which only follow the cardinals (42). The versatile Louis Gillorm is the Mets’ best defender, though Statcast’s Outs Above Average also ranks Lindor as one of the best stopping points in the game.
Brandon Nemo has transformed himself into one of the game’s best quarterbacks to anchor the Mets. Jeff McNeil was also above average on the left field, sharing it with Mark Canha, and Marte was strong on the right field. Judge’s move to center field has done well for the Yankees, both in upgrading their defense and allowing them more flexibility in the lineup.
Carpenter is transforming from a bench piece into a more everyday player, but either way he has provided the Yankees with better depth since signing in May. Also, with their squad mostly staying healthy, they usually have one regular on the bench every night to give them another weapon late in the games. Guillorme has been invaluable – and, like Carpenter, took on a bigger role – but the Mets’ seat isn’t as strong, though Daniel Vogelbach’s recent addition should help against the right-wingers.
on the hill
The Mets are lining up well for the series, and are set to present their top two (healthy) starters at Taijuan Walker on Tuesday and Max Scherzer on Wednesday. Walker has been a steady force above the spin, especially with injuries to Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, and Scherzer has been back in action since his discharge from IL. Jordan Montgomery, in the midst of another strong season, will start on Tuesday with Domingo German, who got rough on his return from IL on Thursday, to play on Wednesday if he starts again.
It’s possible that both teams will be in the market to add at least one dump factor before the trading deadline, but the need is more urgent for the Mets even though the Yankees have just taken a big hit with the loss of Michael King (a broken elbow). Edwin Diaz and Clay Holmes were dominant in the closing – Diaz hit 77 of the 151 hitters he faced – but the Yankees have some depth behind Holmes in Wandy Peralta, Lucas Lutgue, Albert Abreu and Ron Marinaccio. Adam Ottavino has been a tough guy in the setup for Diaz, but inconsistency from Seth Lugo and Drew Smith hurt the Mets.
Aaron Boone is back for Year 5 of the Subway Series as Buck Showalter will test it for the first time – interplay wasn’t a thing until now when he had Boone’s job. Both men are known for their equal temperaments, as Showalter also displayed his knowledge inside out with the rulebook in his first year in Queens.
The Yankees haven’t lost much this year, but they’ve entered the series after losing eight of their last 13 games. The Mets have also lost three of their last four, and the Braves were breathing down their necks over the NL East. Both teams will be looking for a shot in the arm to get back on track.