The Yankees and Mets split the Bronx leg of the Subway Series, just like they did in Queens last month. The trade deadline is less than a week away, and these four games really are a microcosm of each team’s season.
Both the Yankees and Mets won a combined 201 games in 2022, enough to enter the season as World Series contenders. Instead, the Yankees are last in the AL East and eight games behind first-place Baltimore, who they face this weekend. The Mets, similarly, are fourth in the NL East and the best they can say about signing Justin Verlander is he’s beaten the Yankees twice.
Turnarounds aren’t out of the question for either team. But with 60 games remaining, both teams need to play better baseball than was showcased in this series.
Domingo German’s perfect game was a mirage. A perfect game is always great to witness, but it’s important to remember they don’t guarantee future successes. German knows this all too well. He has a 5.64 ERA in July after closing June with his ultimate gem … against MLB-worst Oakland. Against the Mets on Tuesday, he allowed six runs in six innings.
Perfect game aside, it’s crystal clear that German has worn out his welcome in New York. His flashes of brilliance this year are overshadowed by a sticky substance suspension. He can pitch, sure, but his future isn’t with the Yankees.
It’s a good thing Nestor Cortes has started a rehab assignment. The sooner he can get back healthy, the sooner German can get out of the rotation. And, better yet, onto another team.
The left field void. We recently discussed the upside of having Billy McKinney and Jake Bauers as potential left field options for next year. After McKinney’s rough night with the glove on Tuesday, we saw the downside of such. McKinney missed two soft fly balls to left that had a combined expected batting average (xBA) of .040.
Oddly enough, McKinney hasn’t been wholly unreliable all year. He has a +2 defensive runs saved (DRS) in left field despite -1 outs above average (OAA). McKinney can also hit and has a 122 wRC+ in 33 games.
But the Yankees are in last place and need to shoot for the moon now to get bck in the playoff race. That means sending McKinney or Bauers to the bench and pursuing a trade for someone more reliable like a Dylan Carlson or Randal Grichuk.
Aaron Judge’s return won’t save the lineup. All signs are pointing to the Yankee captain coming off of the IL on Friday, right on time for the crucial Orioles series. Judge hasn’t played since June 3 and was batting .291 with 19 home runs before injuring his toe. He should boost the lineup, but will also be playing with a torn toe ligament.
Now, add that the rest of the lineup has been streaky or outright underperforming. The Yankees just split a series with the Mets and were still outscored 10-6 and out-hit 16-11. Even if Judge comes back in MVP form, he can’t carry the offense by himself.
Gleyber Torres has been hitting well for a while and DJ LeMahieu is also finding a groove. Harrison Bader had three hits on Wednesday. Anthony Volpe is looking more comfortable in the batter’s box with every passing game.
Who knows? Maybe once Judge comes back, the Yankees will actually start hitting like the Yankees.
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