A Summer of New York Baseball


Teddy Marantz, Sports Editor

Entering the 2015 MLB season, Sports Illustrated had the New York Mets projected to finish the season third in the National League East with an 82-80 record.  The New York Yankees were put in a similar ranking, projected to finish in fourth in the American League East with a 77-85 record.

Fast forward to September 3, 2015. With the playoffs only a month away, both teams continue to look like they will exceed expectations by a long shot.

The New York Mets are sitting in first place in the NL East with a comfy 6.5 game lead and hold a record of 74-59, 15 games over .500. If someone said this would be the case before the all-star break, no one would have believed it.

The Amazins’ season was going down the expected path due to a pitiful offense. Despite a tremendous first half pitching performance, the Mets were forced to settle for a 47-42 record at the all-star break. Since the all-star break, the Mets lead the NL in runs scored with 240, 4 runs behind the MLB leading Toronto Blue Jays with 244.

The credit for this offensive surge has been attributed to GM Sandy Alderson and the players he traded for, including star outfielder  Yoenis Cespedes, who he acquired from the Detroit Tigers just 13 minutes before the July 31 at 4 p.m. deadline for two minor league players. In 30 games as a Met, Cespedes has 10 home runs, 26 RBI’s, and a .295 batting average.

Bottom line: The addition of Cespedes, along with a few other key pieces (Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe), roused the Mets offense and a 20-win August leaves the Mets with a feasible goal of winning the division and making their first playoff appearance since 2006.

The Yankees, unlike the Mets, have yet to face any offensive troubles at all. In fact, the Yanks are in second in the MLB in total runs scored this year. The problem is, the team that has scored the most runs in the MLB is another team in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays lead the MLB in total runs scored and they are in first place in the East after making some of their own trade deadline moves.

Despite being in second place with a 74-58 record (1.5 games behind the Blue Jays) the Yanks have really overcome expectations from the beginning of the season, and are in first in the wild card race.

The only real problem the Yankees have had to this point is their starting rotation. The starters have been incredibly inconsistent and the offense has been forced to put in too much of the work. Need an example? Yanks right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is 14-2. Pretty good, right? Well, he has an ERA of 4.17 – that’s not good. Fourteen wins by Eovaldi is more than Mets wins leader Jacob deGrom (12-7), despite the fact that deGrom has a 2.32 ERA (one of the best in the league).

Luckily for the Yankees, the pitching is just good enough to win games with the help of their explosive offense. The story of the year for the Yankees is, of course, Alex Rodriguez. Despite playing his first season coming off a full season suspension for PED use, A-Rod has been able to really produce. The 40-year-old is slugging the ball with 26 home runs and 73 RBI.

For both of the New York baseball teams, exceeding preseason expectations is beyond tangible. In fact, a good month of September could lead both the Mets and the Yankees to 90-win seasons. New York sports haven’t been all that good over the past couple of years (Rangers excluded), but if both these teams can turn it around and stay hot in September, we may be seeing the Yanks and Mets back for October baseball.