Battleground NYC. The New York Yankees and NY Mets will meet this weekend in a classic Subway Series with one twist. Both teams must make up missed games (due to COVID-19 postponements) so they will play two doubleheaders this week for five total games within three days. To complicate matters, the Yankees lost Aaron Judge to the IL once again when his calf injury flared up.
The Mets (13-16) sit in fourth place in the NL East, or next-to last place depending on how you look at it.
The Yankees (16-11) come into this extended version of the Subway Series desperate for a slump-buster victory. They lost five games in a row and were swept by Tampa Bay and Atlanta. The Yankees jumped out of the starting gate with a 9-1 record to start the season. The Yanks went 7-10 since their hot start, and were overtaken by Tampa Bay for first place.
During the pandemic-shortened season, teams play seven-inning double headers. Even with the reduction in innings, competing for 35 innings over three hot and humid August days in Gotham will be taxing. The double-dips during the Subway Series occur on Friday and Sunday, with a single Yankees/Mets game on the slate for Saturday.
On Friday, the league will be celebrating Jackie Robinson Day. The league initially scheduled April 15, Robinson’s birthday, for the celebration. However, the day got rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Yankees are 4/1 odds to win the 2020 World Series at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, while the Mets are 40/1 odds to win the championship.
Judge ER … Again
Instead of another installment of “Bronx ER” starring the New York Yankees, perhaps we should change the name to the Aaron Judge Emergency Room? Judge headed to the IL for a second time this season after tweaking his original calf injury. Judge didn’t even last a full game before manager Aaron Boone pulled him from the game prematurely when he mentioned tightness in his calf trying to break up a double play.
An MRI revealed a Grade 1 calf strain. Judge returned to the IL with the same calf injury.
“He tightened up again in that calf area running to second base,” said Boone. “Frustrating, no question. Obviously, he’s very frustrated.”
Two weeks earlier, Judge didn’t want to miss any time, and didn’t want to head the IL.
“I felt like I could have been out there after a couple of days,” Judge told The Athletic. “That’s why I was so adamant about not going on the IL to begin with.”
Judge missed significant time in the last two seasons. In 2018, he fractured his hand on a hit by pitch. In 2019, Judge missed a couple of months due to an oblique strain.
Judge went down in the early stages of spring training with a broken rib that was initially overlooked. When the coronavirus pandemic shut down baseball in March, Judge took advantage of the lockdown and was able to heal his rib.
When the second-version of spring training resumed, Judge looked like his old self. His power returned and he smacked nine home runs and drove in 20 runs in 17 games. On one blast against the Braves in early August, Judge dented a Toyota sign that hangs in right field.
More Mets Drama
Heading into the Subway Series, the Mets have more drama circulating than an episode of “The Real Housewives.” Much like the New York Knicks dysfunction, the Mets’ problems start with ownership and roll downhill.
Meanwhile, the Mets even screwed up their intentions to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen got caught on a hot mic during a livestream, which went viral on Twitter. Van Wagenen criticized MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Jeff Wilpon, the son of owner Fred Wilpon. He quickly walked back comments, while the Wilpons went on the offensive.
Here's video of Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen discussing a plan in which he says MLB wanted the Mets to take the field, leave it and return an hour later. Van Wagenen is critical of the idea and commissioner Rob Manfred, saying: "He just doesn’t get it." (Video via @NickCocco18) pic.twitter.com/46Z9neVkJt
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 27, 2020