Masahiro Tanaka, Jason Vargas
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets face off for the first time this season in the Bronx and anything could happen.

Allison Case

The beginning of the season could not have been set up more differently. The New York Yankees were floundering, racking up losses and looking putrid. The New York Mets, on the other hand, were building up their campaign to be the underdog team to win the World Series.

My, how the tables have turned. Since then, one apple has bruised while the other has flourished.

After 15 games, the Mets held a 9-6 record while the Yankees were drowning in injuries and having to explain away their 6-9 record.

Entering Monday night, the Yankees are tied for first in the AL East with a 40-24 record while the Mets are one game below .500 at 32-33. Even so, the Mets are just five games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in their division.

For a short two-game set, the Bombers and Amazins will be duking it out in the Bronx. Let’s see what’s on tap for this short but still satisfying series.

Starting Pitching

The Yankees definitely have the upper hand when it comes to their dealings in the rotation, no pun intended. They’ll trot out Masahiro Tanaka on Monday night, weather permitting. Fresh off of paternity leave, Tanaka’s overall record doesn’t quite indicate just how he’s looked so far this season.

At 3-5, he holds a 3.42 ERA and hasn’t gotten much run support from his team. In seven starts where he’s allowed one or fewer runs, he holds just a 3-0 record.

The Mets will counter with Jason Vargas, the 36-year-old southpaw. The journeyman has put together a solid season, going 2-3 with a 3.57 ERA. He is also coming off a five-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants last Wednesday.

Game Two will feature James Paxton against Zack Wheeler. Paxton is coming off a lackluster start after his return from the IL while Wheeler is boasting a 5-3 record and an overall 4.61 ERA.

Wheeler’s last outing was a seven-inning, three-run performance against the San Francisco Giants where he hurled 107 pitches.

A lot of the game has to do with the tone set by starting pitching and it looks like both teams will have the opportunity to show off what they’ve got.

Big Boppers

Yankee Stadium is home to a lot of easy home runs and no one knows that better than Mets’ Todd Frazier.

The former Yankee had some magic moments for the Bombers and now has picked it up, swinging arguably the hottest bat in the Mets lineup at the moment. In the last 28 days, Frazier is batting .337/.427/.566 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

On the Yankees end, the hottest stick is by far wielded by DJ LeMahieu. A former National League staple, LeMahieu has made his home at Yankee Stadium and silenced the haters with the “Coors Field” talk.

LeMahieu has been batting .340 in the last two weeks alone and has 27 hits so far this season with runners in scoring position, preparing to eclipse Miguel Andujar‘s team-leading 37 from last year.

What about Dominic Smith? The young phenom is batting .429 with three home runs in his last 15 games. Pete Alonso will also try his hand at some opposite-field shots with his 21 home runs coming into the Bronx.

Significant Losses

This Subway Series will look slightly different without some of the big names highlighting the lineups.

The Yankees are missing some of their big guns in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. While they just got Didi Gregorius back, he is not quite the power threat that Judge and Stanton are.

The Mets are missing Robinson Cano, who just got placed back on the shelf. They are also missing Brandon Nimmo. Both of these players, as well as Justin Wilson, will be doing their rehab stints in Triple-A Syracuse.

This series is important for both of these squads. The Yankees are coming off a putrid road trip, where they lost two series in a row and dropped five of their last seven. Right now they are sitting atop the AL East right alongside the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Mets, on the other hand, are still within spitting distance of the Phillies and the coveted division title with plenty of time left. The Mets are coming off two straight series wins against the Giants and the Colorado Rockies just across town. Can they slow down the Yankee magic that has been radiating through the backups all season long?

First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET Monday night and Tuesday’s contest is scheduled for 7:05 as well.

Who will take over the Big Apple this time around? We’re excited to get a glimpse into the short yet always entertaining Subway Series.

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.