The Mets have played 104 games that count against the cross town rival Yankees. The Mets have won 44 while the Yanks have won 60. The Yankees swept the Mets once in 2003 (six games) and the Mets have swept the Bombers once in 2013 (four games). Last season, in a year where the Mets went to the World Series and the Yankees made the playoffs as the second wild card, the Mets lost the season series two games to four.
This season, the Mets are four games over .500 entering the subway home and home series and the Yanks are at the .500 mark. Both New York clubs had miserable weekends. The Yanks were swept in a three game set at Tampa Bay while the Mets were able to salvage the final game of a four game set against Colorado at Citi Field thanks to Neil Walker. It’s safe to say that both clubs are struggling.
The Mets have experienced a rash of injuries this season having lost Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera to the disabled list this weekend. Add them to the list that already includes David Wright, Matt Harvey, and Juan Lagares who have been lost for the season. Then there’s Lucas Duda still out and unclear when he will be coming back. Reliever Jim Henderson is also still on the DL with Zach Wheeler still hoping to make a 2016 appearance.
The Yanks on the other hand are suffering from an aging roster after countless years of success. In the last week, they have traded two of their star relievers and have stock piled some outstanding prospects. The Yanks now have seven of the top 100 prospects in their system as they tool their club to be great again in the not too distant future.
The Mets, although looking very vulnerable of late, are still in a slightly better position playoff wise. They are 6.5 games back of the Nationals for the division lead and 2.5 games back of the Marlins for the second wild card spot. The Yankees meanwhile are 7 games back of division leading Baltimore and 5.5 games back of wild card two Boston.
Performance wise, the difference between the two New York clubs really comes down to the month of April. In that month, the Mets went 15-7 while the Yankees went 8-14. Since that time, the Mets have struggled to a 39-43 mark as injuries mounted and the Mets offense sputtered horrendously. Meanwhile the Yanks have gone 46-38. There is no question the Yankees have played better than the Mets since May 1st. But the Mets head into the subway series with a better record than the Yankees at 54-50 to 52-52 respectively. It’s only the sixth time in twenty seasons of interleague play that the Mets have a better record than the Yankees on the eve of their first meeting of the season. Here’s a history of the other times when the Mets were better than the Yanks prior to the subway series.
The first time was in 2005. The Mets were 22-19 heading into the subway series with the Yankees at 21-20. The Mets and Yanks split the six games that season, Mike Piazza’s last with the Mets. The next season, in 2006, the Mets had one more win than the Yanks but the same amount of losses with a 24-16 record vs. a 23-16 record. Also that season, the Mets went further in the post season than the Yanks for the first time when both teams made the playoffs. (Of course both clubs made it to the last game of 2000). The largest disparity in the Mets favor occurred in 2007. On the eve of that subway series’ first meeting of the season, the Mets were 26-14 and in first place while the Yankees were struggling at 18-21 in second place trailing the Red Sox. The following season, the Mets were a game over .500 at 20-19 with the Yankees two games under at 20-22.
Since the new New York baseball stadiums era began, the Mets had virtually the same record in 2012, (32-26 vs. 31-25). Last season, the Mets had won eleven in a row with a 13-3 record prior to meeting the Yankees for the first time. So there you have it. The Mets were better than the Yankees just five times in the twenty seasons that interleague play has occurred before tonight’s contest.
Interestingly, in 1997 the Mets were 36-30 and the Yankees were 37-29 on the eve of the very first Mets-Yankees subway series. After Dave Mlicki pitched a complete game shutout in that historic first game, both New York teams had identical records of 37-30. Mets equality was short lived however as the Yanks took the next two, winning the series. Back then, the two rivalries met only once during the season.
The home and home series is something relatively new since interleague play began. It started in 2013 and only happens when the Mets do not play American League East teams. When they do, the Mets and Yanks go back to the traditional three game series in each park. This season, it starts in Citi Field for two then moves over to Yankee Stadium II on Wednesday for games three and four.
What makes this subway series unique is that it starts on the day of the non-waiver trade deadline. That’s never happened before. As stated, the Yanks have already sold off while the Mets are still looking to do something to bolster their dreadful offense.
I long for the day when the Mets are clearly New York’s team. But with the disappointing season they have had and with the Yankees playing better and having made a great haul of prospects, I’m skeptical we’ll ever see it happen.
I certainly hope the Mets do not mortgage their future today. So many things have gone wrong in terms of injury and less than normal performance, it may be fruitless to try and repair a team that really just needs a winter to get healthy and regroup. Many of these Mets are still very young. It would be easy to give up on them considering the microscope of New York. But doing so could prove to be costly in the long term.
It’s interesting that Yankee general manager has taken a page out of Sandy Alderson’s book in that he has sold off a couple of stars for very good prospects. I would hate to see the Mets give up on the philosophy they have embraced. Sometimes a season just doesn’t work out the way it was planned. The Mets have had a lot of bad luck this year. I say make a tweak move or two and let the chips fall where they might. I simply don’t want to see the Mets head into years of uncertainty yet again because they failed to be patient and unnecessarily moved key prospects.
Update: The Mets traded Dilson Herrera and a minor league pitcher for Jay Bruce. I’m glad they got Bruce but I am extremely disappointed they had to deal Herrera. You never know how a prospect is going to turn out however all we have heard is that Herrera would be a future all star. In Bruce, the Mets have a great power hitter and everyone knows they needed one. With all the injuries the Mets have suffered this season, the only real shot to make the post season was to make a deal like this. The Mets can control him through next season. Meanwhile the Mets outfield is like a Sudoku puzzle.
Who plays where?
Nimmo who was originally headed for Cincinnati but remains because the deal had to get reworked because of somebodies medical reports, will likely get sent back to AAA until September 1st. Does Conforto play center or does Granderson? Should be interesting.
In other moves, the Mets brought back Jonathan Niese. This one boggles my mind and with letting their future second baseman go makes me wonder if the Mets really don’t know what they are doing again. Hopefully they do and hopefully they turn things around and begin a run like they did a year ago. But we’ll see. Seldom does it happen that what occurred in one season happens again in the following.