Same City…Opposite Directions
This weekend's Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees was one to remember and another one to forget. Which one depends on who you ask. Queens will have one answer and the Bronx may give you a gesture instead.
The New York Mets are getting healthy. Key players are returning to their line-up, while they maintain a small (4 games) but healthy lead in the National League East. Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo are names that have been missing from the Amazin's line-up card for over a month, yet the Mets have been able to maintain a grasp on first place.
It's not just what those players contribute statistically, it's what they do for other players. Brandon Nimmo was on base all weekend. That helped Lindor, who is beginning to heat up in his new $300 million uniform. The wrestling tag team of Dom Smith and Pete Alonso destroyed Yankee pitching all weekend. You can definitely say that the Mets, led by their 39 year old, organization bred skipper Luis Rojas, are moving in a good direction.
Let's move up the Major Deegan Expressway to the Stadium. It didn't take a spanking by their little brothers to let the Bronx Bombers know that they are in trouble. Aroldis Chapman is lost. The blown save in game one Sunday, highlighted by the Pete Alonso home run, sent Yankee fans into a rage. Boos poured down on Chapman and subsequently on Aaron Boone as he removed the beleaguered reliever from any further damage. That didn't matter much, as Lucas Luetge opened the floodgates before Boone could even get in the dugout.
The Yankees sit 10.5 games out of first place behind a Red Sox team that wasn't even supposed to be in contention. The Bombers have so many question marks, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is in a perpetual game of Jeopardy. Will Gerrit Cole be worth even a fraction of his salary without the use of the illegal sticky substances he claimed or alluded to have used to throw the baseball? Will they have enough money to sign Aaron Judge? Should they trade their most popular young star, if they decide that they can't sign him? Will Giancarlo Stanton ever be worth the money that Cashman knowingly absorbed?
The most important question being posed by Yankee fans is, "when will their direction change?"