This year’s Subway Series between the New York Yankees and Mets clearly meant more to one team than the other, but the Bombers did themselves a massive favor by not playing down.
It was hard to envision this based on the status of this “rivalry” just one year ago. The Yankees entered that series fresh-off a roster breakdown while the Mets owned a legitimate threat in the National League pennant race. Oh, what a difference a year makes.
Fast forward to Monday. The Mets were more concentrated on which players fit the 2018 picture and the team from the Bronx surprisingly found their way back into the mix for a postseason berth. That could have changed, however, if they let their little brothers crash their party.
Brian Cashman formed a genuine contender for the American League race. The Boston Red Sox got hot, however, and took a lead in the division, making anything less than three wins able to be considered an immense failure — the 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card race notwithstanding. They could ill-afford to play down to the level of the 2017 Mets — and the Yankees didn’t disappoint.
On Thursday night, the Yankees edged the Mets by a score of 7-5 thanks to a thrilling night at the dish by Gary Sanchez and a Luis Severino masterpiece. It not only had the Statue Of Liberty light up in navy blue and white, but it also marked the first time the Yankees swept their crosstown rivals in a season series since 2003.
— Empire State Bldg (@EmpireStateBldg) August 18, 2017
Entering the series, the Bombers sat 5.5 games out of first place thanks to the most disheartening loss of 2017. Presently, thanks to the sweep, pulled within four games of first despite Boston winning two of three over the last four days. The benefits of not playing down to a lesser team’s level will always be prosperous.
Now that manager Joe Girardi and the Baby Bombers didn’t enable the Mets to play Subway Series spoiler, they have a chance in Boston to narrow the gap in the AL East race as they square off against the Red Sox for three in Boston this weekend. It’s very rare to get an opportunity to do this twice in two weeks (Yankees dropped two-of-three to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium last week), but it’s here.
Gary Sanchez has awakened the Kraken, a creature that sparked the 2016 Yankees’ from skimpy to hopeful in one single month. Luis Severino looks like an ace. Sonny Gray is doing exactly what he was brought in to do. Aaron Judge has found his stroke again. The bullpen is nightmare-inducing. And don’t forget, Aaron Hicks is back and Greg Bird, Starlin Castro and Matt Holliday are on the way.
The home stretch has arrived and this lineup is about to become whole.
There have been letdowns with this team this season. New York has gone 27-32 since they were a season-high 15 games over .500 at the end of play on June 12 (38-23), own the second-most blown saves in the Majors this year and wasted their chance to put some pressure on the BoSox in the midst of rivalry week.
An Amazin’ sweep, nonetheless, has granted yet another precious shot for a club that now has the strength to run with it.