The Mets (46-53) completed an interleague series against the Red Sox this past weekend, losing yet another series and getting closer and closer to selling at the trade deadline. Now, the team continues its battle against the American League East, returning home to New York but heading to another borough to face off against the Yankees (53-47) in a two-game series.
On Friday night, Kodai Senga and the Mets fell behind early on, but were able to take a 4-3 lead thanks to a pair of two-run homers by Brandon Nimmo and Daniel Vogelbach. However, the heavens then opened up and forced the game to be suspended until the following day, which meant the Mets would need 5.2 innings out of their bullpen. Thankfully, the relievers largely came through, as they gave up a lone run in those remaining innings and otherwise held the Red Sox at bay. The offense, while missing out on numerous opportunities to add to the lead, did score at least the one insurance run they ended up needing, and that was enough to lead to a 5-4 win.
Later that night, Max Scherzer took the mound to try to give the Mets another much-needed victory. Alas—as has been the case too often for Scherzer this year—he was unable to get the job done. Once more, the long ball was the issue for him, as he surrendered a whopping four in six innings of work. The Mets still only had a two-run deficit and could potentially have mounted a comeback, but Trevor Gott put an end to those hopes by allowing three runs while recording just a single out in the seventh. Naturally, the offense did put up a vain attempt at a comeback in the ninth, scoring three runs of their own before recording the final out of an 8-6 defeat.
The two teams then squared off on Sunday Night Baseball to decide the fate of the series. Unfortunately, this one was never really much of a contest, as Carlos Carrasco got hit early and often against the Red Sox lineup. He lasted just 2.1 innings and somehow surrendered ten hits in that short time, with five runs crossing the plate against him. The offense, meanwhile, did little against a string of seven Red Sox pitchers, with the lone run for the Amazins coming on an RBI single by Francisco Lindor in the sixth. But that was far from enough to save them, and they fell to Boston 6-1 to close out a series loss.
The trade deadline is now a week away. With just six games left, the question must be asked whether it is even possible for the Mets to win enough in so short a time frame to position themselves as buyers. If not, the focus will turn on the players that they can trade away. One of their best potential trade chips is Tommy Pham, who missed almost all of the series in Boston due to a groin injury. He did pinch hit on Sunday, however, and the expectation is that he will return to the lineup against the Yankees. The Mets will hope that he can look okay over the next week so other teams will not be hesitant to pursue him. The other main trade chip the Mets have is David Robertson, who tossed a scoreless inning for a save against the Red Sox and is currently rocking a 2.08 ERA and 1.7 bWAR in 39 appearances. Other teams will undoubtedly have their eye on both players in these next few games.
The Mets faced off against the Yankees in another two-game series in the middle of June; the two squads split that series. While the Bronx Bombers have not had quite as disappointing a season as the Mets, there has been plenty of consternation on the other side of town in recent times. Reigning MVP Aaron Judge has been out since the beginning of June with a toe injury, and it’s difficult to overstate how much the Yankees’ lineup has struggled in his absence. Only three other Yankees with more than a hundred plate appearances this season have a wRC+ over 100 (Gleyber Torres, 113; Anthony Rizzo, 108; Jake Bauers, 115). Giancarlo Stanton is always a threat to hit a home run, but has had the worst offensive year of his career when he’s been healthy (97 wRC+ in 50 games played). These offense difficulties led to hititng coach Dillon Lawson being fired at the All-Star break and replaced with former big leaguer Sean Casey, and while it’s still too soon to say whether that switch will pay off for them, it’s hard to imagine the team struggling more with the bat than what they were doing. Overall, the Yankees are 18-22 since Judge has been on the injured list, which shows just how valuable he is to their squad.
The Yankees’ pitching staff, on the other hand, has performed very well. Their rotation is being led by a Cy Young-caliber season by Gerrit Cole, whom the Mets will thankfully be missing in the series. They will not, however, be able to avoid the Yankees’ bullpen, which has the best ERA in the majors by a considerable margin (3.21, with the Braves coming in second at 3.50). The team will hope that their pitching staff, combined with Judge’s forthcoming return and perhaps a trade deadline addition or two, will be enough for them to overcome their two-game deficit in the AL Wild Card race and make a run in October. They are coming off a three-game sweep against the Royals, and now they get to face off against another mediocre team to try to turn their fortunes around.
Tuesday, July 25: Justin Verlander vs. Domingo Germán, 7:05 p.m. on SNY
Verlander (2023): 83 IP, 70 K, 26 BB, 9 HR, 3.47 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 1.157 WHIP, 1.5 bWAR
As is the case with Max Scherzer, Verlander’s name has been brought up in trade rumors recently, with one report indicating that the Giants could have interest in the future Hall of Famer. Like with Scherzer, the likelier outcome is that he will remain with the Mets due to his salary, no-trade clause, and the possibility that the Mets could want him on their 2024 squad. Still, there is at least a non-zero percent chance that this upcoming start could be Verlander’s last in a Mets uniform. His most recent outing was a stellar one, as he surrendered just one run on a Luis Robert Jr. homer through eight innings against the White Sox, striking out seven and walking just one.
Germán (2023): 97.2 IP, 101 K, 31 BB, 17 HR, 4.52 ERA, 4.62 FIP, 1.075 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR
Despite one history-making start earlier this year, it has been a largely unremarkable season Domingo Germán. He has been a roughly league average starter for virtually all of his career, and his 94 ERA+ this year largely conforms to that history. His most recent outing saw him give up five runs in six innings of work against the Angels. He struck out nine and gave up three walks. Also, please don’t forget that, perfect game aside, this guy sucks!
Wednesday, July 26: José Quintana vs. Carlos Rodón, 7:05 p.m. on SNY
Quintana (2023): 5 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 3.60 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 1.200 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
Quintana finally made his debut for the Mets last week. It’s likely a little too late for his return to make a tangible difference for the 2023 squad, but the team will undoubtedly be interested in seeing how the veteran lefty performs in the remainder of the season. He is also under team control for 2024, and a strong couple of months will help the Mets to feel confident about at least one member of their starting rotation next year. While he took the lost in his outing against the White Sox, he did ultimately pitch competently after giving up some early runs, and the hope is that he will be able to go deeper into games before too long.
Rodón (2023): 14.2 IP, 11 K, 9 BB, 4 HR, 7.36 ERA, 7.18 FIP, 1.432 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR
Things have not gone quite as either the Yankees or Rodón anticipated when he signed a six-year, $162 million contract this past winter. He’s missed the majority of the season due to injury, and after finally making his much-anticipated return earlier this month, the production has not been up to his normal standard just yet. Of course, it remains early, and the Yankees undoubtedly hope that getting further removed from his injuries will allow him to become the pitcher they paid for. Still, the Mets will hope that he has at least one more start of struggles before that happens. His most recent outing was a clunker against the Angels, as he surrendered six runs in 4.1 innings of work and walked five while striking out just three.
Prediction: Mets continue to tread water with a series split in the Bronx.
How will the Mets fare in their two game series against the Yankees?
This poll is closed
Subway Sweep (good!) - Mets win both games
Subway Split (meh!) - Mets win one, lose one
Subway Sweep (bad!) - Mets lose both games