The rest of the baseball world will be paying attention to New York City, as the New York Yankees and New York Mets battle each other in the Subway Series. The Yankees, who clearly are looking over their crosstown rivals, have decided to rest their top two starting pitchers, CC Sabathia and Luis Severino. The Mets will throw their top two pitchers against the dangerous Yankee lineup, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. This is sending a clear message to the rest of the league and fans of both teams alike: This series means completely different things for both of these teams.
For the Yankees, the series against the Mets starts a stretch of games for them where they face four teams (Mets, Rays, Royals and Orioles) that combine for a record of 143-239. Needless to say, it appears that they have a stretch of a lot of seemingly winnable games ahead of themselves. That being said, the Mets are the second most formidable opponent out of the stagnant bunch mentioned before (only the Rays are better, sitting at 49-47) so it seems like the Yankees just don’t seem to see the Mets as an offensive threat large enough to run out your two best pitchers against. Who can blame them? The Mets are 28th in the league in batting average ahead of only the, you guessed it, Orioles and Royals. So clearly, this series has minimum importance to the Yankees, despite them being locked in a bitter race with the Boston Red Sox for the AL East Crown.
For the other New York team, this series could say a lot about what is ahead for the franchise. The Mets are the second worst team in the National League right now, despite having high hopes coming into the season. They now find themselves as sellers as we are approaching the July 31st deadline, with not much of value to sell. The asking prices for Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, undoubtedly the two most coveted possessions of the Mets at the moment, will be too high for any team to buy into. The Mets will more so be trading an Asdrubal Cabrera or Jeurys Familia, who they will receive most likely moderate level prospects for. Cabrera is hitting .281 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs as of Friday for the Mets, and he has been the most consistent offensive player all season for the team. Familia has 17 saves to go with a 2.88 ERA so far, and has been the best arm in the bullpen besides Seth Lugo.
It is important in this series for the Mets to put both Cabrera and Familia on display as much as possible in this series, simply because of the attention it will get. Also, the Yankees will be the last quality team that the Mets will face before the deadline. Teams look to see how players do against elite talent like the Yankees, rather than the Padres, who are the basement of the National League, and the inconsistent Pittsburgh Pirates, who will be the next two opponents on the docket for the Mets.
Although there is no statistic for it, there is also a sense of pride that the Mets are playing for this weekend. If the Mets are able to come into the Bronx and win the series against the Yankees, it could give the team, and their ever-growingly frustrated fan base something to hang their hat on in a season of flat out misery. Of course, if the Mets lay a goose egg in Yankee Stadium, it will add more fuel to the Yankee fire, as well as the fire under the seat of the Wilpon’s seat, which grows hotter everyday with the frustrations of Mets fans.