Rarely do the Mets and Yankees both enter a season with the ability to make some noise in MLB. NYC – get ready – because it’s real.
The Mets and Yankees are not the only teams in baseball taking stock of their roster, filled with enthusiasm and an optimistic outlook as they break camp to begin the 2021 season on Thursday.
But away from the bluster and false hopes that half of MLB’s teams have any chance of reaching the World Series, the Mets and Yankees are both included “in the game”.
Both teams have suffered injuries to key players but none are of the knock-out kind, and both teams have front offices that have worked overtime to build up roster depth designed to overcome these unfortunate but unavoidable events.
The Mets are without Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard, lefty reliever Justin Wilson, and Carlos Carrasco, a starting pitcher who otherwise would be making the start on Friday behind Jacob deGrom.
The Yankees challenge is to temporarily replace ace reliever Zack Britton, starter-to-be Clarke Schmidt, and most recently last year’s AL home run champion Luke Voit, who (my opinion) should have been shut down weeks ago by the Yankees.
The Mets And Yankees Are Good – But…
The always intriguing thing about Opening Day is that nobody knows what comes next.
We have these paper-made lineups, some with new and supposedly game-changing additions to teams (think Trevor Bauer – Dodgers and Paul Goldschmidt – Cardinals) – but neither has yet to play a game that matters.
Ditto the Mets and Yankees who have yet to see Francisco Lindor light it up the way he has in Spring Training, or the Yankees as they hold their breath hoping two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is strong enough after two full seasons out of action to carry the load behind All-World Gerrit Cole.
Mets And Yankees: Innings, Innings, Innings…
Both the Mets and Yankees will need to fill one-thousand, four hundred and fifty-eight (1,458) innings to complete a full schedule of 162 games.
Where those innings will come from remains the challenge for the Mets manager Luis Rojas, Mets front office VP Sandy Alderson, and Yankees’ strategists Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman.
Recognizing that the entire focus of the offseason has been to build up depth in the pitching staff, with an accent on each team’s bullpen.
This is why the Mets 2021 40-man Roster has eight relievers on board or ready to jump in as needed. Edwin Diaz currently holds the title as closer, but behind him are Jeurys Familia, Trevor May, and (hopefully, Dellin Betances armed and ready.
For both the Mets and Yankees it always begins with pitching. But runners crossing the plate for your side go a long way to shortening a game.
The Yankees have a stacked lineup that will once again be among league leaders in runs scored and home runs.
Meanwhile, the Mets will duplicate their first-place finish in league batting average and on-base percentage during the 2020 season.
But always and beyond the ever-ready and always present chatter from players, coaches, and pundits about a team’s outlook on any upcoming season, is the “feel” a fan gets as his team heads North.
Are you sensibly hopeful or waiting for a miracle?
Miracles may be, they’re fun too. As maybe Pete Alonso will hit 60 home runs this year, both deGrom and Cole will win the Cy Young, Gary Sanchez will strike out fewer than half his at-bats, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will each appear in 130 games or more, Francisco Lindor will be arrested if he signs with another team…and so on.
Mets And Yankees: Back To Reality
No analysis of the Mets or Yankees would be replete without an honest assessment of what lays before them
The Mets are in a division MLB must have concocted on a day when they wanted no one to win, pitting the teams instead to a Roman gladiator theater in which no one survives, but a winner is declared.
Such as it may be, the Met stands as good as anyone among the Braves and Nationals. But then, you’ve got those pesky Marlins and Phillies to mess everything up.
Similarly, the Yankees (should) have no serious competition in the AL East, and therefore their regular season can only be assessed as preparing for the postseason – especially with regards to applying TLC to those arms that will (ultimately) make or break their season.
Mets And Yankees: On Cue- Enter the NYC And National Stage
As if the gods of MLB saw the need to schedule pre-made drama in the 2021 season, the Mets and Yankees will face each other in a three-game series from Sept. 10-12 at Citi Field to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
But that’s not all as the teams will also tangle over the Fourth of July weekend (Friday – Sunday at Yankee Stadium).
With fans in the stands beginning on Opening Day, what is there not to like about the upcoming MLB season, and in particular for the New York City metropolis?
Only a lame or overzealous fan of his team would make a prediction about the fate of his/her team at this juncture – I prefer to say – Play Ball!