The New York Mets (38-47) will look to build off their Sunday night win as they face the New York Yankees (54-28) at Citi Field to conclude the 2019 Subway Series schedule. Last month, the Mets and Yankees played a rare Subway Series doubleheader after the Monday night game was washed away by strong storms. The result was a split, with the Bronx team emerging victorious in the afternoon match while the Queens club winning the nightcap.
The Mets halted their seven-game skid on Sunday night and closed out a hellish month of June with a 10-18 record. Victory aside, it was truly a month to forget for the team, although an improvement over their 5-21 record in June 2018. The Mets fell 6-2 to the Atlanta Braves on Friday despite Pete Alonso picking up his 28th home run of the season. Jacob deGrom turned in a quality start with a six inning, three-run performance, but the offense was not able to provide any support for their All Star game-bound ace. Things remained close until Robert Gsellman came in and poured gasoline on the fire in the eighth, which put the game out of reach.
The organization honored their 1969 World Championship team on Saturday with a wonderful ceremony—although they unfortunately included two living members of said team on their in memoriam tribute video—prior to the start of the game. The Mets fell behind early, but following an hour-plus rain delay, they eventually took the lead and appeared on their way to snapping their losing streak. Unfortunately, the week ended as it began, with Seth Lugo surrendering the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning.
The losing streak finally came to a merciful end on Sunday night, as it was the Braves bullpen who did their best impersonation of the Mets’ pen. Atlanta took a first-inning lead and then tied the game in the sixth with the Mets clinging to a one-run lead. Atlanta jumped all over Chris Flexen in the seventh to take a two-run lead, but Wilmer Font saved the day with two shutout innings to keep his team in the game. The Mets’ offense exploded for five in the eighth, including run-scoring hits from first-time All Stars Jeff McNeil and Alonso. Edwin Diaz entered and shut the door in the ninth inning for his 17th save.
On top of the series finale victory, the Mets also got some good news in the form of three of their players being named to the 2019 National League All Star team. Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that Alonso and McNeil had been selected as reserves, while deGrom was added to the team’s pitching staff. It was a well-deserved honor for each of those three individuals, who each made a compelling case throughout the year. In addition to making the roster, Alonso will also compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday night in Cleveland.
To date, deGrom owns a 3.32 ERA, a 3.11 FIP, and a 2.9 fWAR in 17 starts this season, with 128 strikeouts, a 30.3% strikeout rate, and a 5.2% walk rate in 103 innings pitched. deGrom, who has one more start before the July 9 exhibition game, ranks second among qualified National League starting pitchers in fWAR, third in strikeouts and strikeout rate, fifth in FIP, eighth in ERA and walk rate.
Alonso has been every bit as dominant offensively in 2019 as deGrom was on the mound in 2018. The Polar Bear’s 28 home runs, which are a Mets’ rookie record, currently ranks second only to Christian Yelich’s 29 long balls. Alonso is third among all qualified National League hitters with a 159 wRC+ and fifth with a 3.4 fWAR while slashing .278/.372/.627 with a .350 ISO. McNeil, meanwhile has posted a .348/.412/.509 with a 148 wRC+ (eighth in the National League) and a 2.4 fWAR (18th in the National League). He currently leads Cody Bellinger in the race for the batting title.
The New York Yankees return from their trip across the pond after playing the Boston Red Sox in the first regular season baseball games in London. The Yankees packed their bats for the trip and punished Red Sox pitching during the two-game sweep. On Saturday, the Yankees lineup scored 17 runs on 19 hits while Boston was only able to put up 13 runs on 18 hits. DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit each collected four hits, while six different Yankees had at least two base hits. The Yankees completed the sweep on Sunday with 12 runs on 13 hits despite getting outhit by Boston. Opener Stephen Tarpley was charged with four runs in his one inning of work, but five of the next six relievers they called on managed to keep the Red Sox off the board. Contrast that with Boston’s bullpen, which allowed nine runs over the final 3.2 innings.
LeMahieu picked up seven more hits across the two games and now leads the American League with a .345 average, to go along with a .392 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging percentage. He also owns a 145 wRC+ and a 3.6 fWAR in 76 games with the Yankees this season. As a result, he was voted in as the starting second baseman for the American League All Star team. The honor marks the third time that he’s been named an All Star. He will join teammates Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman on the American League squad that will take the field in Cleveland. Sanchez has had a bounce-back season after struggling in 2018 and has posted a .261/.330/.588 slash line with 23 home runs, a 135 wRC+, and a 2.0 fWAR. Chapman has a league-leading 23 saves to go along with a 1.36 ERA, a 1.65 FIP, and a 0.97 WHIP in 33 innings with the Yankees this season.
Tuesday, July 2: James Paxton vs. Zack Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on WPIX
Paxton (2019): 64.1 IP, 81 K, 28 BB, 9 HR, 4.34 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.43 WHIP
Paxton was roughed up for six earned runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 26. His put his team in a five-run hole over the first two innings of the contest, although their offense was eventually able to storm back and take him off the hook. He allowed a season-high three home runs and four walks during his unsatisfactory appearance. The Mets dominated Paxton earlier in June, knocking him out after only 2.2 innings while scoring six runs against him. The 30-year-old left-hander has mostly been a disappointments in his first year in pinstripes after posting a 3.42 ERA and a 3.13 FIP in six seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Wheeler (2019): 107.2 IP, 115 K, 31 BB, 15 HR, 4.51 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 1.26 WHIP
Wheeler was fantastic in his last start, which was perhaps his best of the season. When the team needed him to step up after three tough defeats, he stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Aaron Nola while limiting the Phillies to one run on two hits with seven strikeouts over six innings. He made one mistake on the afternoon, and Bryce Harper deposited it well beyond the fence just left of dead center field. Over his last two starts, Wheeler has allowed two earned runs on seven hits over 13 innings to drop his ERA by almost a half-run. With the July 31 deadline quickly approaching and the team well out of a playoff spot, Wheeler’s days in the orange and blue are likely very numbered. The team will continue to hope that he can turn in these types of performance in order to maximize a potential return for the righty.
Wednesday, July 3: TBD vs. Jason Vargas, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
The Yankees have not named a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s series finale. It is very likely that they will use an opener, a tactic which they have employed a few times throughout the 2019 season. To date, the team holds a perfect 8-0 record when using an opener. They have often turned to Chad Green as their opener, but most recently utilized Tarpley in this role during their London series.
Vargas (2019): 66.1 IP, 57 K, 28 BB, 8 HR, 3.66 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.28 WHIP
After a couple of short and subpar outings, Vargas got back on track against the Phillies with a stellar outing that positioned his team for a victory before the bullpen came in and blew up once again. Vargas pitched into the seventh inning for only the third time in 13 starts and allowed just two runs on three hits. He tied a career high with 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings and walked two while yielding one home run. He was pulled after just 77 pitches but was getting hit hard towards the end of the outing. Lugo ended up coming in and spoiling his great start by giving up an inherited runner and two runs of his own to score. Like Wheeler, Vargas’ days in a Mets uniform may be numbered, and if he continues to perform above expectations, there’s a good chance that the club will try to unload him at the deadline for any return that they can get.
Prediction: The Mets and Yankees split a pair (and split the 2019 Subway Series).
How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Yankees?
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The Mets take down their cross-town rivals in a two-game sweep!
It’s another Subway Series split for these two squads.
The good vibes from Sunday’s win are short-lived as the Mets are swept.