Both the Mets and Yankees have lofty upsides for the 2019 season. That’s wonderful, but they need “W’s” to prove it. Today, they did…
This afternoon, both the Mets and Yankees opened the 2019 season on a positive note. The Yankees dumped the Orioles 7-2 at Yankee Stadium while the Mets opened in Washington to a marquee matchup between Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. The Mets ace, deGrom, continued from his ways of last season, and the Mets walked away with a 2-0 win against the Nationals, whom many have picked to win the NL East.
One day is not a season, but when you look at all the positives in the games as they were played, it’s not a leap to conclude the Mets and Yankees will be in the forefront of conversation on stages like MLB Tonight throughout the 2019 season.
Jacob deGrom Propels The Mets (Any Questions Now?)
Jacob deGrom’s line for his first start of the season…six innings, five hits, no earned runs, 10 strikeouts, with two-thirds of his 93 pitches thrown for strikes. Sound familiar? Chances are it also sounds familiar to Fred Wilpon, who just parted with about $140 million to keep deGrom in the Mets fold. Relax, Fred. You did the smart baseball thing.
The Mets fielded flawlessly (don’t discount that) behind deGrom while newly acquired Robinson Cano supplied the firepower with a home run and an RBI single to account for both Mets runs.
But it was Jacob deGrom, who came through with a performance the Mets needed to reassure themselves that this season is different, and one they can hang onto as they work their way through the rest of the rotation. Scherzer wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t good enough when matched up against deGrom.
Noah Syndergaard (especially) and Zack Wheeler now have the bar set for them to match – or exceed. Expectations for both are high, but it is Syndergaard who draws the spotlight based on his whirlwind tour of Twitter and media comments over the past weekend. Rebounding nicely though, Thor overcame everything, setting the stage for his first start of the season against the National on Saturday.
These are the types of games the Mets need to win as the season moves forward. They did so today against a former Cy Young winner in Scherzer. 1-0 to start the season in first place sets a tone, and with that, the confidence that….”Yeah, we can do this”…
The Yankees Carry A Heavier Burden – But they Won!
The Yankees are a super-charged team at every level of competition in the Major Leagues this season. They are not only predicted to win 100+ games this season – they are expected to do so. Beyond that, lurks the playoffs, in which the Yankees have failed to advance to the World Series for two straight seasons.
What to do? You plod along counting the W’s one by one, then five over (.500), ten over, and so on until a team like the Yankees are seen in the standings as the elite team they are.
Nevertheless, a team has to start somewhere, and the Yankees did so today, beating the downtrodden Orioles at Yankee Stadium. With a makeshift lineup which included two first baseman, a shortstop recovered from the injured list, and a starting pitcher not identified as the Yankees ace – guess what? They win the opener going away.
Masahiro Tanaka (my choice to finish in the top five in the Cy Young voting), opened the season for the Yankees substituting for Luis Severino, finishing one out shy of six innings while surrendering only two runs (one earned). Oh yeah, there was some power too…
But the key to seeing what lies ahead for the Yankees is in the box score that shows all but one Yankee having a hit in the game (Brett Gardner), who is excused because he scored a run in the game. Luke Voit stepped up big with a 400+ ft home run over the monuments in center field, and his counterpart at first base, Greg Bird, said “I can do this too”, with a blast in the eighth inning, albeit when the game was pretty much out of reach.
Bullpen? Oh yeah, they were there too. To be sure, not every game is going to pattern itself the way the Yankees opener did. But to win anything this season, including the all-important AL East, the Yankees absolutely must beat up on rebuilding teams like the Orioles (especially), Tigers, White Sox, Royals, and Rangers.
I’ll be watching the Yankees record against those teams even more than the oncoming matchups against the Boston Red Sox.
Mets And Yankees – Off On The Right Foot
The standings in baseball tell only of a teams wins and losses. The standings are neutral and final, no matter what we say as fans.
As such, April looms as important as September. Even though, national media attempts to encourage us to believe otherwise in what’s called “crunch time”, when the major networks hop on board to cash in on the playoffs advertising monies, teams like the Mets and Yankees are afforded an opportunity (now) to remove themselves from all that with a “good” start to the season.
Yes, today is only a start for the Mets and Yankees. But again, 1-0 sure looks a lot better than 0-1, even at this early stage of the 2019 season…