“If only these games can mean something for both teams,” said a mysterious radio host a few months ago.
Well, the three-game series at Citi Field Friday, Saturday and Sunday is going to have all sorts of meaning. One team pretty much has a division title all locked up. The other is within striking distance of first place, but needs to maintain their lead in the wild card race.
It’s hard to believe the team that has pretty much assured themselves a postseason spot is the New York Mets! Yes, the same New York Mets who have not qualified for the playoffs since 2006.
The Mets will look a much different team than the one the Yankees last saw in late April. The Mets have discovered serious offensive firepower, they have a legitimate bench, and just have a swagger within their club that we haven’t seen in Flushing for a very long time.
The Mets newfound swagger and success can be directly related to the trade of Yoenis Cespedes and the difference he has made within the entire team.
Cespedes has been so good for the Mets that he has worked himself into the National League MVP conversation despite the fact that he’s only played 41 games in a Mets uniform.
His numbers are staggering. He’s hit 17 home runs and has 42 RBIs in 41 games. He’s the sort of bat that will keep opposing pitchers up at night. The Mets have not had that in a very long time.
On July 31, the Mets traded for Cespedes. They were two games out of first place. On September 15, they are in first place by 9.5 games.
Adding Cespedes to the outstanding young starting rotation is the main reason why the Mets are a few days away from clinching their first division title in nine years.
On the other hand, the New York Yankees were dealt a couple of brutal blows last week.
On Wednesday, they found out they would be without starting pitcher Nathan Evoaldi and All-Star first basemen Mark Teixeria for the remainder of the season due to injuries.
On the field, it wasn’t much better. The Yankees lost five straight games including three out of four to the Toronto Blue Jays, which puts their chances of winning the American League East on life support.
Thankfully for the Yankees, they have the safety net of winning the wild card, but it would put them in a situation of playing a one-game playoff where anything can happen on any given day.
This weekend is much more important to the Yankees than the Mets.
For the Met fan, this weekend will present an opportunity to spoil the New York Yankees season. The Mets will have an opportunity to bury the Yankees in their pursuit in the AL East and make their wild card lead much more tenuous.
These games will be tremendous. They’ll have a playoff like atmosphere, where you’ll get a little taste of the postseason a few weeks before it’s about to begin.
Maybe this September Subway Series can become a regular thing after all!
JJ’s Unlocks of the Week ATS
(Season Record: 2-2-1)
• KC Chiefs -3
• Green Bay -3.5
• Pittsburgh -6.5
• Buffalo + 1
• Cincinnati -3.5
You can listen to JJ on Thursday & Friday on CBS Sports Radio from 10-2 a.m. & Sunday 2-6 a.m. on WFAN.