Both New York baseball teams topped the standings this season. The Mets are 78-44 and have a four-game lead in the NL East, despite the Braves having been on the rise since early June. The Mets were in first place every day except for one this season, when they were out 3-2 and a half game. The Yankees are 74-48 and have been in first place in the AL East since April 27. At one point they had a 15 1/2 game lead. They’ve been through some tough times in the past month, but they still have an eight-game lead.
The two teams will face each other Monday and Tuesday in their second and final regular season series in 2022. New Yorkers and TV executives may wonder if this is a preview of the World Series. It would be the second “Subway Series” after 2000.
Of course, the Mets are dealing with the Braves in their division and possibly the mighty Dodgers in the NLCS. The Yankees will probably finally have to learn how to beat the Astros, if they can even reach them.
Obviously it’s an incredibly difficult path for both teams to win the World Series, but I’ve been tasked with seeing which one I’d rather bet on.
Chance to win the World Series
Opportunities through Caesars Sportsbook.
- Dodgers +350
- Astros +400
- Yankees +450
- Mets +475
- Braves +1100
I’ve listed the top five teams just for a reference point, but the job here is to see if the Mets or Yankees would be a better choice at this point.
The case for the Yankees
The Bronx Bombers live up to that name this season, leading the league in home runs and runs scored. Giancarlo Stanton is on the way back from injury and if healthy, the Yankees could be flashing a seriously intimidating lineup with Andrew Benintendi and DJ LeMahieu serving as table setters (probably with one in the nine holes and the other at the start) for Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Stanton, Gleyber Torres and Josh Donaldson. It’s the kind of lineup that can make a few skewed numbers per game in the playoffs, and we’ve seen three-run homers change series many times.
Assuming the Yankees get Luis Severino back and find a way to get Frankie Montas on track, the playoff rotation with Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Montas and Severino has great potential. Or maybe the Yankees use Jameson Taillon on a rotation spot and let Severino do his thing in relief.
The bullpen has been a problem for weeks, but you can work your way to a dominant lineup in the playoffs. Let’s say Clay Holmes, Aroldis Chapman, Wandy Peralta, Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, Ron Marinaccio and Severino are all at their best. That would give Aaron Boone an arsenal with a wide variety of different types of weapons.
Simply put, the best version of the Yankees is a team that can do some serious playoff damage and take home the title.
Of course they haven’t been their best version for about six weeks.
The case for the Mets
Chris Bassitt is an All-Star-caliber pitcher who has twice finished in the top-10 of Cy Young votes. He is 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 11 starts and he is 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA in four starts in August.
He would be the Mets’ number 3 starter in a playoff series, after top players Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. Maybe Carlos Carrasco will come back from his injury in time to be the No. 4 or maybe it’s Taijuan Walker. Either way, the Mets probably have the best playoff rotation.
Oh, and at the back of the bullpen awaits the greatest closing act in baseball, Edwin Díaz. He is now 28 for 31 in save opportunities with an ERA of 1.46, 0.89 WHIP and strikeouts 97 in 49 1/3 innings.
The Mets also have a strong lineup with superstars Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor as their backbones. Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo all have very good seasons. Mark Canha is as good as getting lower third batters. Daniel Vogelbach was also a revelation at DH.
It always comes down to who plays well when it matters most, but when we look at the Mets, they have all the ingredients to win it all. They have two aces and the playoff rotation will likely be full of All-Stars. They have an almost automatic shutter. They have a deep attack that doesn’t rely on the longball while also being able to get through with game-changing clutch bombs.
I’m optimistic about the Mets.
I’m coming the Mets and it wasn’t a hard choice. The Dodgers are the only team I would take before the Mets right now and I’m not averse to taking the Mets over the Dodgers. This is the most complete Mets team in a long time.