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An Amazin’ Start and A Bronx Bummer

Robert Gsellman reacts to scoring the game-winning run against the Braves.

MLB.com

Robert Gsellman reacts to scoring the game-winning run against the Braves.

Finnegan Courtney, Staff Writer

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What a tale of two years it has been for the Mets, and their Bronx counterpart: the Yankees.
In 2016, the Mets made the playoffs and the Yankees were in fourth place. In 2017, the roles were reversed as the Mets were in fourth place and the Yankees made the playoffs. Now, as of April 20, the Mets are leading the NL East mountain (13-5) and the Yankees have been dropping games and are at the .500 mark (9-8).

Let’s start with the Yankees, a team that was one game away from the World Series last year. In the offseason, they were expected to be a World Series contender, especially with the acquisition of MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. They have rookie of the year Aaron Judge, All-Stars Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez and a strong bullpen. The Yankee fan base is primed for a World Series return.
So far, it hasn’t worked out great. Giancarlo and Gary Sanchez are both batting below the league average, and they’ve only hit six combined home runs. They had hit 10 combined home runs by around this time last season.

Their “rock-solid” pitching staff has done something of an complete 180 from last year, an implosion if you will. Their starting staff has been one of the worst in baseball aside from ace Luis Severino, and their bullpen has been something of a fire. By that, I don’t mean putting out a fire, I mean they’ve been pouring three tons of gasoline on the fire.

As of right now, the Yankees are among the bottom of the AL, with their meager 9-8 record. Now, if you’re a Yankees fan and reading this, you might have already torn up this paper in half, and yes, you could be saying this is a complete overstatement as we’re less than 20 games into the season and I’m putting way too much blame on the team. That is where new game manager Aaron Boone comes in.
After the end of an ALCS-competing campaign under the extremely successful manager Joe Girardi, the front office sacked him and replaced him with the aforementioned Boone whose tenure in the Bronx isn’t off to the greatest start. He made a poor decision against the Toronto Blue Jays and has not been able to effectively manage the bullpen. But, who knows, maybe the Yankees are able to regain momentum, perhaps if Giancarlo, Judge and Sanchez can hit better, perhaps even the bullpen can effectively pitch in a game. This is baseball, anything can happen.

The Amazin’ Mets

As for their counterpart, the New York Mets, they have been true to their nickname, Amazin’ Mets. They are 13-5 as of April 20, and the last time they had a 13-5 record, in 1986, they won the World Series. One of the most fearsome 1-2 punches in all of baseball are All-Stars Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom. They signed All-Star Jay Bruce, veterans Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez, 18-game winner last season Jason Vargas and bullpen arm Anthony Swarzak.

However, every positive has a negative, and yet again, it has been the seeming injury curse of the last four seasons. Their starting and backup catchers, Travis D’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki are both out for substantial amounts of time. And not even with an injury, feared slugger, MVP candidate, Yoenis Cespedes, is playing below average. He’s batting .208 (as of April the 20th), but even he has had bright spots–a game-winning hit against the bitter rival Washington Nationals. If he does go on a hot streak, the Mets will go places.

Last year, the Mets were one of the worst teams in baseball, rife with injury and controversy, which resulted in Terry Collins retiring from managing. Management replaced him with Mickey Callaway, who is off to a 13-5 start, one of the best records in baseball. Callaway has his crew off to one of the hottest starts in all the league to the still brand-new season. So far, it seems everything has gone right for the Mets, and everything is becoming a horrifying development for the Yankees.

The Mets are sitting on the National League throne with an iron fist right next to the American League throne, currently occupied by the bitter rival of the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox.

Baseball still has over 100 games left to play, so there is plenty of hope left into the hearts of every Yankees fan and plenty of fear in a small pocket of the good times for the heavily-veteran “Amazin’ Mets.”

Who will have the better season?

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An Amazin’ Start and A Bronx Bummer