Wendell Cruz | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and Mets are very good teams

Only one, however, is a championship team. After the Mets swept the first leg of the Subway Series in Queens, it sure isn’t the Yankees.

In the grand scheme, the series has no effect on the standings. Between the right AL East opponents losing at the right time and the Astros getting swept in Oakland, the Yankees are still sitting pretty. They have an 11.5-game lead over Toronto, a two-game edge on Houston and now the last-place Royals at home for four games.

But for one thing, the loss also cost the Yankees their status as the best team in baseball. The Dodgers now stand alone. The Bronx Bombers are also 2-5 since the All-Star Break and 4-6 in their last ten.

Such is not the case for the Mets. They followed the Astros playbook and treated this brief two-game series with the Yankees with playoff urgency. Citi Field had October energy as the Yankees, despite strong overall efforts, looked more on cruise control. It makes sense, what with the Mets only holding a three-game lead in their division.

So what comes next after this small appetizer of a potential World Series? The trade deadline is coming up and the Yankees have already set the tone in trading for Andrew Benintendi. His contact bat will make the lineup miss Giancarlo Stanton’s power a little less.

But what about the bullpen? It’s practically running on fumes with Michael King and Chad Green both out for the season. Miguel Castro is also injured and Aroldis Chapman is now baseball’s most expensive garbage time arm. It doesn’t matter if Jonathan Loaisiga seems to have righted things. The fact that Clay Holmes was first asked to potentially get six outs in a tie game on Wednesday says it all, and Wandy Peralta faltering in the ninth says it louder.

Not to mention, the starting rotation behind Gerrit Cole is getting tired and adding someone like Reds ace Luis Castillo won’t come cheap. Not after he tossed seven innings of two-hit ball in New York earlier this month.

As for the Mets, they seem to like former Yankee reliever David Robertson. Perhaps they’ll add another bat to complement Daniel Vogelbach. They can also look forward to a healthy Jacob deGrom for the first time in 2022.

Needless to say, things will certainly be interesting when the Subway Series kicks off again at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 22. The Mets have shown they’re a serious contender and want a World Series ring just as badly as their crosstown rivals.

Now, it’s on the Yankees to bounce back and show the same.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.